Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Hardcover, 1999

Call number



Delacorte Books for Young Readers (1999), Edition: 1, 256 pages


Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
Christopher Paul Curtis did it again! In writing this 2000 Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King award-winning book, he wove another magical, enchanting, complex, well crafted and spell binding tale filled with poignancy, sadness and laughter while teaching history in a captivating way.

I've raved
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about this author before, so please indulge my obsession one more time in encouraging you to take a few hours of solitude to savor every word, phrase and nuance of this incredible writer.

What's in a name? The answer is a tremendous asset and sole identity to Bud, NOT Buddy! As a ten year old orphan in 1936 hard-hit depression filled Flint, Michigan, Bud has little else. Four years ago his beloved mother died, leaving him is name and a few possessions he guards with his life.

The sum total of his existence is held in a raggle taggle suitcase he lugs from one orphanage or foster home to another. The string-bound cardboard container holds some rocks with dates painted upon them, a photo of his mama as a child riding a pony, and a few fliers listing a jazz group led by Herman E. Calloway.

When the last foster home experience culminated in a beating and fearful night of imprisonment in a back yard shack, Buddy knows he has had enough! Believing that his mother kept the fliers for a reason and that his unknown father must be Herman E. Calloway, Buddy runs away from Flint to Grand Rapids, seeking love and a home to call his own.

Christopher Paul Curtis masterfully writes about such complex issues as homelessness, poverty, racism, cruelty and poverty.

Living in a cardboard Hooverville community for a few days, Bud meets likable, down and out characters. Finally reaching his destination and claiming his identity to the great jazz artist Mr. Calloway and The Dusky Devastators of the Depression, leads to unexpected discoveries for all with quite a surprising ending.

I loved this book! I loved the spunky, determination of Bud, the complexity of the characters, the historical backdrop of the jazz age and the skillful depiction of a bleak period of time in American history.

Five Stars!!!!
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LibraryThing member taztaz13
a very good book
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis is the story of a 10 year old orphaned black boy who suddenly finds himself on the run after trouble occurs with the foster family that took him in. When looking over the few things he got from his mother he starts to think that perhaps they are clues to
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his father’s identity. As there are a number of flyers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his band, Bud decides this Herman is his father.

His path leads him through many adventures, both good and bad. As this book is set in 1936, America is deep in the Great Depression. Bud faces many situations that occurred during that era, from soup kitchens to shantytowns, to abandoned children and women whose men had to take to riding the rails, searching for jobs.

Eventually Bud does find and confront Herman E. Calloway and finds out that things have a way of working out they way they should, not necessarily the way you planned. A well written, touching but not overly sentimental book that I would recommend.
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LibraryThing member cathyskye
First Line: Here we go again.

It's 1936 in Flint, Michigan, and the Depression is in full swing. People don't have the most basic of necessities, so it's not all that surprising that children keep turning up on the doorsteps of orphanages. Ten-year-old Bud (don't make the mistake of calling him
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Buddy!) has been in the orphanage for a while, so he's a pro. He's also tired of going to new foster homes to be used as a servant and to be treated badly.

When he's beaten up by the spoiled son of the latest couple to take him in and then locked in a shed and attacked by a nest of angry hornets, he's had enough. He manages to get out of the shed and into the house where he finds his battered and beloved cardboard suitcase-- and then he's on the road to Grand Rapids. You see, from the important things his mother kept, he's figured out whom his father is, and that man is a musician who has his own club. All Bud has to do is make it to Grand Rapids.

Bud, Not Buddy is the first novel to receive both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Newbery Medal. Although the grim conditions of the Depression and the harshness of Bud's circumstances as both an orphan and an African-American child are depicted honestly, Curtis surrounds the unpleasant facts in a spirit of hope and optimism. Bud can be in the midst of a very serious situation and still have the power to make a reader smile with his habit of referring to "human beans" or mopping a floor and pretending he's reenacting the action of "Twenty Thousand Leaks Under the Sea." (I have to admit that, even though I have a great tolerance for gore and violence, it was nice to read something that contained neither. A discerning reader can easily recognize the ugly bits and shudder, but the focus never moves from that little boy.)

At the end of the book, Curtis admits that two of the characters were based on his own grandfathers-- and that most of what he learned about the Depression came from research and books. When he was young and the old folks started talking, he made a bee-line in the opposite direction because he didn't want to hear those "boring tall tales."

Bud, Not Buddy is a wonderful book, filled with love, laughter and truth-- and the most important truth of all may be the very last paragraph of Christopher Paul Curtis's book:

"Be smarter than I was: Go talk to Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad and other relatives and friends. Discover and remember what they have to say about what they learned growing up. By keeping their stories alive you make them, and yourself, immortal."
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LibraryThing member kscarlett01
This is a great book about a young boy, Bud, who is sent to live in an orphanage when his mother passes away. The book tells story about Bud's misfortunes while he lives in the orphanage. Bud has a picture of his mother and who he thinks to be his father, and throughout the book he is in search of
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his father. Bud eventually finds the man and discovers exactly who the man is. This is a great book for young children when it comes to realizing that others are not always as fortunate as us.
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LibraryThing member delphica
(#19 in the 2004 Book Challenge)

This won the Newbery in 2000. I think 2000 wasn't an especially strong year, but this book was pretty deserving (just as a comparison, I don't think it's quite at the level of Holes, the 1999 winner). The gist of the plot is that a young boy sets out on his own to
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discover the identity of his father, and it's set during the Great Depression.

Bud, the protagonist, is a funny and resourceful kid, and the author manages to get in a fair amount of information about the Depression, the labor movement, and jazz without hitting you over the head with it.

The most striking thing for me was that Bud is black, and the story is told entirely from his point of view, so that the race of people in the book isn't mentioned unless they are white. So Bud will talk to a man, a lady, a white lady, and then another man. For someone who is practically a professional liberal, this was oddly ... well, not confusing. The book is aimed at 10 year olds, so I think I'm capable of following along, but it was definitely notable and effective at bringing the reader into Bud's worldview. Even though I'm making a big deal about it, it wasn't intrusive.

Grade: A-
Recommended: to people who like keeping up with current kidlit
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LibraryThing member nnicolic
Ten year old Bud is an orphan who goes from orphanage to orphanage, finally he makes a run for with only his suitcase with items that might help him find his father. This is taken place during the Great Depression. Bud runs into some interesting people who are similar to the clues he has in his
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suitcase. He thinks one of the men is his father, but in reality he is actually Bud's grandfather. Bud is no longer and orphan, because he has his first real family-his grandfather. This is a wonderful heart felt book that would be a great read for future middle schoolers.
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LibraryThing member peewee2014
Bud awanted to find his dad but he lived in an orphange and his mom died and his dad abaned him and moved to a differnt state so bud is trying to find him.
LibraryThing member oh_monica
"Bud, Not Buddy" is somewhat a sad story about the boy named Bud who doesn't want to be called as Buddy. The author's way of writing is hilarious and makes the reader giggle. Bud is an African American boy who lost his momma and doesn't know who his daddy is. Bud believes his father is Herman E.
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Calloway because his mother always kept the flyers which had the picture of Herman. Bud goes off to Grand Rapids from Flint all by himself to find his dad. On the way, he gets help from the kind, humorous man Lefty Lewis. At Grand Rapids, Bud finds out that Mr. Calloway is not his father but his grandfather! Herman cries sadly when he realizes that his daughter is dead and her son came to him. Bud is going to live with Herman and his band members and join in the band with the talented and generous musicians.
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LibraryThing member r13
Aside from being just a fantastic piece of literature, this book helps children see how writing historical fiction can be fun and interesting. Through rich character development and plenty of detail, Curtis makes historical fiction interesting and inviting.
LibraryThing member r13
This book is full of dialogue. It can be used as a model for dialogue or an opportunity to analyze meaningful quotes.
LibraryThing member 1morechapter
I listened to this Newbery winner by Christopher Paul Curtis with my son on the road trip to our new home. We both enjoyed it very much.

When we meet Bud Caldwell, he is living in an orphanage in Flint, Michigan. Soon, though, we find him “on the lam” and in search of his father whom he has
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never met. He always carries his few belongings in a suitcase, and in the suitcase are clues his dead mother left behind about his father. Set during the Great Depression, this book is excellent for its historical value for children. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member lowensby
Orphan tries to survive in a hard world. He makes up rules as he goes......
LibraryThing member librarymeg
Bud, a ten-year old black boy living in Flint, Michigan, has been living in a Home for children since he was six. He's been in and out of foster homes, where he's often beaten and mistreated. His most treasured possession is a battered suitcase filled with treasures that remind him of his mother,
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including a stack of fliers for a band that Bud remembers his mother looking at quite often. One day, when Bud decides that enough is enough, he decides to go on the lam in search of his father, who he is convinced is the bass player on the flier. Bud Caldwell is a character who will quickly climb inside your head and heart and make himself at home. The story is beautifully written and successfully evokes both the fear and unease of the Great Depression, as well as the courage with which the poor faced it. An excellent book.
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LibraryThing member Omrythea
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, is about 10 year old orphaned Bud, who runs away from a foster home in search of his father. Set in the time of the Great Depression, Bud encounters Hoovervilles, scarcity of resources, and the controversy of unions. Bud is a delightful, resourceful
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character who boils down many universal truths into his numbered lists of Rules and Things, such as Number 39: “The Older You Get, the Worse Something Has to Be to Make You Cry.” Bud captures your heart and you find yourself rooting for him all the way. The themes of perseverance in the face of hardship and the importance of family are woven throughout the book. Notes at the end of the book give more information about the Great Depression, and photos of actual people who inspired some characters in the book are included.
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LibraryThing member elisemarie
Bud--"not Buddy"--Caldwell, an orphan on the run from abusive foster homes and Hoovervilles in 1930s Michigan. He has an idea, firmly planted in his head,that Herman E. Calloway, standup-bass player for the Dusky Devastators of the Depression, is his father.
Guided only by a flier for one of
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Calloway's shows--a small, blue poster that had mysteriously upset his mother shortly before she died--Bud sets off to track down his supposed dad, a man he's never seen. At 10, he gets into all sorts of trouble along the way, barely escaping a monster-infested woodshed and stealing a vampire's car.
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LibraryThing member hdusty
excellent story of a boy during the depression who is searching for his father, who might be a jazz legend. very funny and very, very well written.
LibraryThing member smpenni
This is the story of an orphaned boy in search of his father. Set during the depression Bud experiences food lines, shantytowns and the abuse of foster care. Ultimately he finds a home, his true home and his one remaining relative.
LibraryThing member stharp
This book is an excellent example of realistic fiction. Although it was based in the 1930's,
LibraryThing member kathy8997
Loved the ending--the middle was kind of slow. Curtis gives a great sense of what life was like for orphans during the Great Depression. He also shows how music was great therapy for people during those hard times. He touches on Hooverville, migration to California, prejudice against
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African-Americans, friendship, family ties, and strains between impoverished unemployed Americans and the law.
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LibraryThing member amanda_c
Quality: An excellent first-person narrated story related with skill, heart and humor.

Potential Use: "Bud Not Buddy" would be excellent for curriculum support or individual reading and is also available in Spanish.

Child Appeal: A young orphan boy navigates the trials of the Great Depression in his
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search to find his father.
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LibraryThing member debnance
I loved this book! Top notch characters, especially Bud and his foster parents and Herman E. Calloway.

Bud's mother has died, leaving his with a suitcase full of flyers advertising the amazing band of Herman E. Calloway. When another time in foster care ends up with Bud locked in a shed, Bud decides
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it is time to seek out Herman E. Calloway, who he feels must be his elusive father. Herman E. Calloway turns out to be one tough cookie and not at all what Bud had hoped for, but, in a roundabout way, everything works out in the end.
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LibraryThing member readingrat
A tender and warm story about an indomitable spirit.
LibraryThing member ed118188
Wonderful story of a boy who comes from an orphange ends in afamily that locks him in ashed and he escapes in a library. Must have for young readers.
LibraryThing member mrsarey
This is a great novel about a young boy searching for his roots during the Depression. Bud wants to find his father, who he believed abandoned him as a baby. What he finds is more- a family.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 2002)
Audie Award (Finalist — 2001)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2001)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2001)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 6-8 — 2002)
Newbery Medal (Medal Winner — 2000)
Bluestem Award (Nominee — 2014)
Golden Kite Award (Honor — 2000)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2001, 2002)
Indies Choice Book Award (Honor Book — Children's — 2000)
Coretta Scott King Award (Winner — 2000)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Teen — 2002)
Mitten Award (Winner — 1999)
Land Of Enchantment Book Award (Winner — Young Adult — 2003)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — 2002)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 2001)
Volunteer State Book Award (Nominee — Grades 4-6 — 2002)
Kid's Choice Award (Nominee — 2001)
BlackBoard Books of the Year (Children's — 2000)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 2000)
Idaho Battle of the Books (Elementary — 2022)




0385323069 / 9780385323062


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