A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
When one door closes, another opens. Sometimes home is where you find it. No matter what life throws at you, you've got to make the most of it.
Positive Role Models
Bud is determined and resilient, though he tells a lot of lies in order to survive. His foster family is cruel, but once he runs away, people me meets on his journey are kind and helpful. His alleged father, Herman E. Calloway, is grouchy, but his jazz band members -- Steady Eddie, Mr. Jimmy, Doug the Thug, Doo-Doo Bug Cross, Dirty Deed Breed, and Miss Thomas -- make Bud feel welcome and at home. Bud's late mother remains a positive influence in his life.
Violence & Scariness
Bud's foster brother beats him up. His foster parents lock him up overnight in a shed, where he's stung by a nest of hornets.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis (The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963), won the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award. It's a well-crafted, funny tale of an orphan's poignant search for a home that will keep readers turning the page. Bud, a 10-year-old African American boy, runs away from his abusive foster family in Flint, Michigan, where his foster brother beat him up and his foster parents locked him up overnight in a shed, where he was stung by a nest of hornets. He embarks on a journey to find his father that leads him to Grand Rapids. Along the way, he endures fear, and there are frank descriptions of the horrors of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Written in a strong, compelling voice, Bud, Not Buddy beautifully evokes what life was like for African Americans, especially musicians, in Michigan during the Depression.
Is It Any Good?
Young Bud tells his story in BUD, NOT BUDDY in his own lively voice, making his character practically leap off the page. At times tough, sad, resilient, and funny, 10-year-old Bud is completely irresistible. His personality, coupled with the fast pace of the story, captures the attention of young readers on the first page and keeps them riveted right through to the end.
Bud keeps meeting up with good people who are willing to share what little they have, and to help Bud as much as they can. It is this portrayal of people at their best when circumstances are at their worst that ultimately makes the story a hopeful and heartwarming one.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.