Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Summary form Goodreads:

It's 1936, in Flint, Michigan. Times may be hard, and ten-year-old Bud may be a motherless boy on the run, but Bud's got a few things going for him:

1. He has his own suitcase filled with his own important, secret things.

2. He's the author of Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself.

3. His momma never told him who his father was, but she left a clue: flyers of Herman E. Calloway and his famous band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression!!!!!!

Bud's got an idea that those flyers will lead him to his father. Once he decides to hit the road and find this mystery man, nothing can stop him--not hunger, not fear, not vampires, not even Herman E. Calloway himself.

My attention was instantly caught by the title. I was pretty sure then that I had to read all about this Bud not Buddy kid and I was half wanting my name to be Elizabeth so I can tell people to call me Liz not Lizzie.

Bud Caldwell

I was instantly taken in by Bud in just the first few chapters. I found myself laughing out loud during the most part of reading this book. I have to credit the author for Bud's hilarious humor. If you remember Bill Cosby's show "Kid's say the Darnest Things", well, with Bud, he thinks of the darnest things. He has this so called "Bud Caldwell's Rules and Things for having a funner life an making a liar out of yourself." I admit that it is a brilliant rule book and wouldn't mind adopting some of it. Bud is really a stellar character that one cannot help but love. He is determined, resilient, and takes everything in life in a stride. Absolutely nothing can ever break this kid. Not some mean foster brother and parents, not a whole hornets nest, not his librarian friend's moving to another state, not hunger, not the fuzz, not his missing the train and losing his honorary brother, not the grief from the death of his mother. And now, he is determined to set off with only the clothes on his back and his suitcase of knick knacks, and a flyer of some Jazz Band, in search of his father.

The History and The Moral Lesson

The Great Depression is such a bleak time most especially for the African American people. The author made sure that poverty and rascism during this era are manifested in the story but still he managed to not let the seriousness of the two themes permeate the humor and the lightness of this children's book. He was able to effectively point out what the Black community had to go through during that time, discrimination in everything, even the most basic of human rights. He gets this point across to me, the reader but still I never really felt the gloom and doom. Instead what I took away was positivity, that there are always good things in this world amidst the bad ones. That love can be found in unlikeliest of places and in the most unexpected people.

I also found it delightful to read about the life and times of a Jazz Band and how that era was a milestone for the music industry. I am always a sucker for the glitz and glam and soul of the Jazz Age. 

All in all, I think this is an absolute gem of a story. It's one of those books that I'd like my future children to read.

Bud Not Buddy is the recipient of Newbery Medal (2000), Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award Nominee (2002), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2002), Nene Award (2002), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (2001), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2000), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader's Choice Award for Junior (2002), IRA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award for Older Reader Category (2000), New Mexico Land of Enchantment Award for Young Adult (2003), Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book for Children (2000)

This is my 22nd entry for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.


  1. My son (9 years old) and I had a great time reading this book together. I certainly showed a different time and experience, but wasn't scary at all for the sensitive kids around.

    1. I agree. There is humor and lightness in how it is written that the gravity of certain events won't seem as scary to kids. I'm glad you got to read this book with your son because it's one of those books meant to be shared with the young ones, especially those of Bud's age. :)

  2. I really did love this book. I agree that Curtis's humor and lightness elevate the serious situations Bud encounters. Thanks for the awesome review.

    1. Hey Joyce Ray! I'm so glad you got to read this one. I myself never expected to like it as much as I did. Bud is a one of a kind kid. Probably one of my favorite characters this year. :)


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