Bud, Not Buddy

Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Reading Range: 5.0 (AR Finder)
Interest Range: 4-8 (AR Finder)
Plot: Bud Caldwell is an orphan during the Great Depression. He is also an African-American living in Michigan.  His mother died when he was five and he never knew his father. The only things he had left from his life with his mother is a suitcase that contains a bag of rocks, a photograph of his mother as a child and fliers that show Herman E. Calloway and his jazz band. Bud thinks that Herman E. Calloway is his father. He is sent to a foster home where the son picks on him. He fights back and is punished by the mother for hurting the son. They tell him they are going to send him back to the home. He decides he does not want to return there. He escapes from the shed that the family puts him in. He gets his suitcase and goes on his way. He tries to find a librarian that was nice to him to get information about what to do. She is married and gone. He ends up in a shantytown where he is treated nicely by the people there. He helps out and does what he can. He wants to hop a train but he is not able to get on the train. He decides after that he is going to find his father. He does find Calloway but he does not like Bud or believe he is his son. Bud has to try to win him over.
Review: Reading the book, even through it is not explicitly stated, there is a hint that African-Americans were treated like second class citizen. It must have been even harder for children like Bud who did not have any family to protect them. It sounded like there were too many children already living at the home where Bud used to live. It seemed like luck of the draw if they were going to get a foster family that would treat them well or not. The family that Bud lived with already looked down on him because he was an orphan. They expected him to be grateful they even took him into their home. They did not stop to consider that Bud lost everything in his life when his mother died. They did not seem to care about him at all and look at him as a bother. When Bud is on his own, there are examples of how hard it was for a child trying to survive on his own. He had to relay on the kindness of adults yet he had to be weary of them. Would they try to hurt him or help him? Bud kept fighting and trying to make a good life for himself even with everything being against him. I would recommend this book to people who like reading historical fiction. I thought it captured that time period well.
Additional Info:
This book won a Newbury Medal in 2000. The author also won a Coretta Scott King Award in 2000.
Main Characters:
Buddy Caldwell-Bud prefers to be called Bud and not Buddy. He is ten years old and an orphan. He is trying to survive and find his father.

Mr. Herman E. Calloway-Calloway is the band leader. Bud believes he is his father. Calloway does not trust Bud and thinks he is trying to pull a scam. He is also sad because he lost his daughter.

Angela Janet Caldwell-Angela is Bud’s mother. She dies before the story even begins but Bud thinks of her often. The lessons she taught him help him to survive.

Deza Malone-Deza is the girl who teaches Bud how to survive in the shantytown. She teaches him the rules. She also gives him his first kiss.

Lefty Lewis-Lefty is the a man who picks Bud up when he is trying to find his father. He takes him to his daughter’s home to fed him and give him new clothes. He takes him to his father.

Miss Grace Thomas-Grace is the “vocal stylist” in Calloway’s band. She takes care of Bud and tries to get Calloway to accept him.

Theme: Desire to escape, Fate and free will, Inner versus outer strength, Injustice

Bibliographic Info:

Curtis, C. P. (1999). Bud, Not Buddy. New York, NY: Delacorte Press



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Friv 1
    Apr 21, 2013 @ 02:38:45

    It’s enormous that you are getting thoughts from this piece of writing as well as from our discussion made at this place.


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