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Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Book Club Novel Guide outlines a complete theme-based unit with Book Club lesson plans focusing on Bud, Not Buddy.
Book Club: A Literature-Based Curriculum discusses Bud, Not Buddy within a themed multi-book unit along with three other stories Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, Monkey Island by Paula Fox, and Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.
Below you will find a synopsis, further reading materials, discussion topics, and reviews that you might find useful during your teaching of Bud, Not Buddy.
Bud, whose mother died four years ago when he was six, has lived in the Home and in foster homes since her death. As the novel opens, Bud learns that he will be moving to a new foster home, a family with a twelve-year-old son. Bud packs his suitcase, reviewing his most precious belongings from his mother: fliers advertising Herman E. Calloway and his various bands. Instead of being excited about the foster home, Bud suspects that he will be tormented by the older boy—and he is right. When he defends himself, Bud is locked in the shed for the night with the promise of being returned to the Home. After an attack by hornets, he breaks out of the shed and decides to run away. The remainder of the novel chronicles his journey from Flint to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in search of the man Bud believes is his father: Herman E. Calloway. He experiences life in a Hooverville, as well as his first kiss; he tries unsuccessfully to find his favorite librarian; and he hitches a ride to Grand Rapids with Lefty Lewis (a character based on the author’s grandfather). When he finally meets his supposed father, he is surprised by the man’s age and his gruff demeanor. After spending a few days in Grand Calloway Station, the truth is revealed that Herman Calloway is his grandfather. Bud’s mother had run away from Calloway’s home as a teenager.
Throughout the novel, readers are introduced to important events of the Great Depression, including the forming of the Pullman porters union, the Hoovervilles near railways, the laws discriminating against African Americans, and the prejudice common in many places.
Further Reading and Links
The following sites can be used to support and enrich the Book Club unit for Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.
About the Author and the Novel
Big Theme Questions
What is family? What are the special qualities that shape a family?
What is home? What characteristics make a place feel like home?
How do people cope with loss? What are some positive ways to cope with loss?
Is it possible to find something that you didn’t know you had lost? If so, describe some examples from literature or real life. How does it feel to discover something that’s unexpected but very valuable?
How is life like a journey? Why are journeys important?
Outline of Lesson Plan | Discussion Topics | Writing Prompts
The following section can be used to get discussions started in your classroom. It is based on the Lesson Plan within the Book Club Novel Guide for Bud, Not Buddy. The Lesson Plan includes blackline masters for the students that support the writing prompts. The writing prompts provided are meant as suggestions only. As students become more comfortable with the Book Club format, they will certainly have ideas and questions that go beyond the prompts. Consider giving students “free choice” as a log option. Book Club Reading Logs help students respond to literature and organize ideas as they participate in Book Club.
Chapter 1 | Language Conventions: Introduction to Book Club
Chapter 2 | Literary Elements: Point of View
Chapters 3–4 | Literary Elements: Imagery and Figurative Language
Chapters 5–6 | Comprehension: Summarizing and Sequencing
Chapter 7 | Language Conventions: Fluency
Chapter 8 | Comprehension: Foreshadowing and Predicting
Chapters 9–10 | Literary Elements: Theme
Chapter 11 | Comprehension: Character Analysis
Chapter 12 | Literary Elements: Setting
Chapters 13–14 | Language Conventions: Reading Log Entries
Chapters 15–16 | Comprehension: Questioning and Clarifying
Chapters 17–18 | Composition: Compare and Contrast
Chapter 19 | Response to Literature: Analyze the Story’s Ending
Afterword | Composition: Big Theme Questions