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Winner of the 2000 Newbery Medal, and the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award.
During the Great Depression, a 10-year-old homeless boy sets out in search of a man he believes to be his father.
Bud Caldwell's mother died when he was six years old, leaving him with nothing but a cardboard suitcase filled with memories and a possible hint of who his father may be. Now, ten years old and on the run, Bud lives among the homeless in Flint, Michigan, until he decides to walk to Grand Rapids in search of his father. Helped by a few kind people along the way, Bud eventually locates Herman E. Calloway, a famous musician who denies Bud's claim that he is his father. Finally, the contents of Bud's suitcase provide the clues necessary to prove that Calloway is indeed related to Bud, but not in the way that Bud expects.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint's historic Fisher Body Plant #1. His job entailed hanging doors, and it left him with an aversion to getting into and out of large automobiles-particularly big Buicks.
Curtis's writing-and his dedication to it-has been greatly influenced by his family members. With grandfathers like Earl "Lefty" Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of "Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression," it is easy to see why Christopher Paul Curtis was destined to become an entertainer.
In the Classroom
Bud, Not Buddy, set during the Great Depression, offers students the opportunity to think about the hardships that the American people experienced during this time in history. Through the homeless main character, students are asked to explore the themes of family, survival, and hope. They are also challenged to think about how racism further threatened the lives of African Americans during this period. Though the living conditions in the novel seem bleak, the main character never loses his sense of humor and offers young readers a survival story with a happy ending. The novel is an ideal choice for read-aloud or a class novel study. In addition, this guide offers activities for using the novel to connect language arts, social studies, science, art, and music.
Ask students to research the causes of the Great Depression. How did it affect families of all socioeconomic levels? Tell them that Bud, the main character in the novel, is homeless and goes to a mission for a hot meal. Find out other types of organizations that helped people during the Great Depression. Then have students find out what organizations in their city or town provide food and shelter for the homeless today.
Family and Relationships
Ask the class to discuss Bud's relationship with his mother. What are some of his special memories of her? Why did his mother never tell him about his grandfather? Why do you think Bud's mother left home? Changed her last name? If Bud's mother was so unhappy, why did she keep the flyers about her dad's band?
Why is Bud so convinced that Herman Calloway is his father? Discuss whether Bud is disappointed to learn that Calloway is not his father but his grandfather. What type of relationship do you think Bud will have with his grandfather? How is Calloway's Band like a family? What is Miss Thomas's role in Bud's new family?
Bud has been without a family since age six. What type of survival skills does Bud learn at the Home? Make a list of "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself." How does Bud use these rules to survive difficult situations? Have the class discuss whether Bud will continue using these rules now that he has found a family.
Ask the class to discuss how the flyers in Bud's suitcase give him hope. Bud's mother once told him, "When one door closes, don't worry, because another door opens." (p. 43) How does this statement give Bud the hope he needs to continue his search for his father? Discuss the moments in the story when a door closes for Bud. At what point does the door open? Cite evidence in the novel that Herman Calloway had hope that his daughter might return.
Engage the class in a discussion about the different types of racism. Bud encounters racism throughout his journey. Ask students to explain Mrs. Amos's statement: "I do not have time to put up with the foolishness of those members of our race who do not want to be uplifted." (p. 15) How does this statement indicate that Mrs. Amos feels superior to Bud and other members of her race? Why does she think that Bud does not want to be uplifted?
Bud meets many homeless people at Hooverville. What evidence is there that racism prevails among them? How does racism affect Herman E. Calloway's band? Eddie tells Bud, "Mr. C. has always got a white fella in the band, for practical reasons." (p. 205) Discuss what the "practical reasons" might be. How does this reflect the times? Would Mr. Calloway's reasons be valid today?
Bud has special memories of his mother's reading to him. He remembers the little lessons that he learned from the fables that she read. Have students select one of "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself" and write a fable, using the rule as the lesson learned.
Explain to students that a euphemism is a word used to soften the meaning of a word that may suggest something unpleasant. For example, Bud says, "I don't know why grown folks can't say someone is dead, they think it's a lot easier to say gone." (p.178) Ask students to brainstorm other euphemisms for dead.
Ask students to explain the metaphor, "The idea that had started as a teeny-weeny seed in a suitcase was now a mighty maple." (p.146) What is the "seed"? The "mighty maple"? Ask students to find other examples of figurative language in the novel.
John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and J. Edgar Hoover are among the notorious figures mentioned in the book. Send students to the library media center to research these people and to find out when the FBI was formed. What is its primary purpose? Who is the head of the FBI today? What names are currently on the FBI's most wanted list?
Policemen inspect Lefty Lewis's car because they are searching for labor organizers who are sneaking to Grand Rapids from Detroit. Ask students to find out about the history of labor unions and the existence of unions today. Then have the class debate the pros and cons of labor unions.
Lefty Lewis sends Herman Calloway a telegram telling him about Bud. Have students construct an illustrated timeline that shows the development of communication from the invention of the telegraph to today's new technologies. A good choice to introduce students to the earlier time of the pony express is the picture book The Sweetwater Run by Andrew Glass.
It is obvious at the end of the novel that Bud is being groomed as a band member. Design a flyer for Bud's opening night with Calloway's Band. Encourage students to give the band a new name in honor of Bud.
Entertainment played a major role during the Great Depression. One of Bud's flyers describes Calloway's Band as "Masters of the New Jazz." Ask students to find out who the major jazz artists were during the Great Depression. Why was jazz so important during this time period? Note that the author's grandfather was also a big band leader.
Teaching ideas prepared by Pat Scales, director of library services, the South Carolina Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville, South Carolina.
Vocabulary/Use of Language
Ask students to find unfamiliar words and try to define them from the context of the story. Such words may include: urchins (p.12), ingratitude (p.14), vermin (p.15), matrimonial (p. 56), devoured (p. 91), ventriloquists (p.101), sully (p.141), embouchure (p.194), and prodigy (p.196).
Winner of the 2000 John Newbery Medal
Winner of the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award
"Curtis has given a fresh, new look to a traditional orphan-finds-a-home story that would be a crackerjack read-aloud."
—Starred, School Library Journal
"Bud's journey...will keep readers engrossed from first page to last." —Starred, Publishers Weekly
"[T]he rich blend of tall tale, slapstick, sorrow, and sweetness has the wry, teasing warmth of family folklore." —Booklist
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Posted June 16, 2009
this book is amzing when you look in too the book it feels like you are apart ofthe book but you are really not . i think this book should be recomened for the whole world
38 out of 49 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 1, 2008
I am not kidding when I say this is the best book I have ever read. When I was in 3rd grade I had to do a big author study project, I picked Christopher Paul Curtis because I liked the book, Mr. Chickee's Funny Money. Picking this author was the best decision I have ever made in my life. He is the greatest author ever, not kidding. Now, two years later I still continue to read his books, I am reading The Watsons Go To Birmingham for the 2nd time right now.<BR/><BR/>If you are a kid between the ages of 8-12, and you have not read this book, do me a favor and read it. Pick it up from your library, or buy it, because I guarantee that you will want to re-read it. One moment you will laugh, the next you will be in tears. <BR/><BR/>Parents and Grandparents, holiday shopping can sometimes be hard, but here;s a great stocking stuffer for you! I love getting books in my stocking, it's really great. This book is great for that, it gives kids info about orphans and what some people go through, but also the love that gets discovered in this book. In my family, we have a family book club that consists of me, my grandparents and my great grandparents, on my dads side. The book club formed, when I recommended this book. It brought us together, and I hope it will for you too. <BR/><BR/>Don't be discouraged by all the negative ratings, like BORING, or EASY. These things are true to some people, people who don't open there hearts to the struggles of Bud. This review was written by a 10- year old girl, not a parent who heard about the book from their kid, not from a older kid who thinks their grown up. This was written by a true kid who likes what other kids like and loves books.<BR/><BR/>If you don't believe me or want to believe those other negative reviews, that's fine but I cannot express how bad that decision is to pass by this book, it is a must read and will bring your family together. A Perfect gift for the holiday season. :) Happy Holidays everyone!
32 out of 44 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2011
This book is the is WONDERFUL!!! My daughter read it and she just loved it!!! Bud he;s an adventurous boy. He's brave. He's strong. He's determined to do anything. He's determined to find his father. Read this book and you'll find out how he goes from adventure to adventure. From foster home to foster home. Feel as if you're Bud as you read the book. And enjoy it.
27 out of 30 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2009
I am a 6th grader who read Bud, Not Buddy in my reading class. In this book, you learn about the seemingly impossible journey that Bud takes to find his "father". You will see that growing up in the Depression was not easy! Bud had to do things like sleep under trees just to survive.
This book was a page-turner from beginning to end. Curtis gives you a little bit of the big "answer" at the end of each chapter, then wraps it all up at the end with such a reveal that you will have to go back a couple of pages and read it again. My favorite part of the book was when Bud found out who the little girl in the picture. I liked that part because you never saw it coming! You can really connect to this book because of the way the ecomomy is now and you know how it feels to want something - but have to live without it. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a couple of hours on their hands because once you start reading it - you can't stop!
22 out of 28 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 8, 2011
Posted January 22, 2012
This book is awesome this boys mom passed away and he was had finally got a foster home but his foster mom was believing everything that her real son said he did and made budd sleep in a shed that had wasp but then got revenge on his foster brother by doing the hand in the bowl of water trick. Budd then met up with his friend bug bac from the home. Etc! Just get the book.
14 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2009
i loved this book!!!!!! had to read it for a project and now i may get a A+!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2012
Posted January 23, 2012
Posted January 8, 2012
I read this book when i was in fifth grade... and his father might be in the band....... i cant remember but read the book to find out!!!!!!!
9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 5, 2011
Bud, Not Buddy is placed under the historical fiction book category because it takes you back in time placing you in the shoes of a young African American boy at the age of ten. By placing you in his shoes the author does a good job of letting the reader feel Bud¿s emotions and what his going through on his journey to find his long lost father. Bud¿s mother passed away when he was on six-years-old. She did not leave very much behind but what she did leave Bud believed that they were ¿clues¿ in finding his father. At the age of ten his was tired of being tossed between abusive orphanages, and he takes matters into his own hand. Bud runs away only in seek to find his father and a loving family.
Bud lives by his own rules, becoming a better liar, and has a bit of fun along is journey. He ends up learning to be grateful for the little thing in life. I personally loved the book being put in someone else's shoes, feeling what they felt, following them through their journey, and simply being interested in how they lived. Reading about situations like Bud¿s helped me relate to my life searching for something better; learning that it¿s not always the big picture that is important but the little things that help you get through every day one day at a time.
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2009
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Posted January 4, 2012
Posted January 2, 2012
This book is one of the greatest book i ever read. I had to read this book for school and i thought to myself and said this is gonna be harible. When i started to read i really like it. This book is sad, funny, and most of all THE GREATEST BOOK IN THE WORLD. He should make a second one. :))
5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2011
Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, is a historical fiction story about a boy named Bud, who lived with his mother in Flint, Michigan, until she died when he was six. He did not know who his father was, so he was sent to an orphanage. Four years later, the 10-year-old belongs to a foster family, which includes their 12-year-old son, Todd, who treats Bud cruelly. Bud runs away, getting revenge on Todd and his family. He tries to find Herman E. Calloway, who he believes to be his father. On the way, Lefty Lewis, a courier from Grand Rapids, Michigan, tries to help him. They set out on an adventure together in search of both Calloway and a better life. Bud, Not Buddy, takes place during the Great Depression, and revolves around poverty, starvation, and unemployment. While reading this story, I felt as though it was both heartbreaking and humorous. It¿s hard to imagine what it would be like to live during the Great Depression, and living in a foster home with a horrific family. However, the story becomes a little more humorous after Bud meets Lefty Lewis and they start out on their adventure together. Bud's irrepressible good nature, his innocence and his survival skills make him memorable. His literal interpretation of language, his belief system which includes vampires, tokens and ritual behavior all serve to allow us to see the world through the eyes of a ten year old. The setting in the 30s, the height of the Great Depression and the small tastes of racism that the author weaves in so skillfully make this book unforgettable. I would highly recommend this book for children in fifth grade and higher!
5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2012
Posted January 4, 2012
Posted December 29, 2011
Posted December 26, 2011
This book would be a great book to recommend to kids parents because I asked my friends to read this and all the kids in my class and they said it looked like a great book for my friends in 4th Grade.The boys liked it especially to read for a good book report. Really, I think it would be a good book.
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 2011