Library:ADCLP/Bud, not Buddy

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Bud, not Buddy / Christopher Paul Curtis.


This novel is set in Flint, Michigan in 1936. Ten-year-old Bud Caldwell is an orphan whose mother died four years ago. Since then, he has lived at an orphanage and has been in and out of abusive foster homes. At the beginning of the story, Bud is put in yet another foster home. There, he is bullied by Todd, his foster brother. One night, Todd claims that Budd attacked him without provocation. Budd is then forced to sleep in a shed and is attacked by hornets. Once he breaks out of the shed, he runs away from the foster home, hoping to find his father rather than returning to the orphanage. Based on some old flyers of his mother’s that he has saved, he believes that his father is Herman E. Calloway, a jazz musician in Grand Rapids. Luck is on his side, and he manages to walk and then hitch a ride there. A twist near the end of the story reveals that Calloway is not Bud’s father, but his grandfather.The protagonist of this book reveals information about his past a little at a time. He has a sense of humour despite the problems he has endured, which makes the book very funny at times. It is an engaging story that has a lot of momentum, and it is a relief to learn of the connection between Bud Caldwell and Herman E. Calloway at the end of the story.


1929, Fiction., Fiction. African Americans, Fiction. Depressions, Runaways

Reading Levels

Ages 10 - 12 / Grades 5 - 7


  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2000
  • Coretta Scott King Author Award, 2000

Publication History

  • New York : Delacorte, 1999. viii, 245 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. ISBN 0385323069