About the Book Bud, Not Buddy tells the story of a young boy who lives in Michigan during the Great Depression. After living in an orphanage and escaping from a foster home where he's forced to sleep in a shed, Bud travels on his own to find a musician, Herman E. Calloway, who he believes is his father. On his way, he finds a Hooverville, a city made up of the homeless and jobless, where people treat him well. He also meets a kind limousine driver, who warns him about the dangers of a black person traveling alone. When Bud finally meets Herman E. Calloway, he is welcomed by Herman's entire band. Herman, though, isn't so sure how he feels about this boy who claims to be his son. Herman and Bud are both in for a surprise when they find out that Bud isn't Herman's son, but his grandson.
Before Reading the Book Explain to students that this book takes place during the Great Depression, a time of great hardship for many Americans. Talk to them about the hunger and joblessness that many Americans faced. Discuss with students that the events in this story occurred in the 1930s, decades before many Civil Rights advances came about for African Americans. This made the Great Depression especially difficult for African Americans. Encourage students to read about the Great Depression in other books from the school library.
After being beaten up and forced to sleep in a shed in his new foster home, ten-year-old Bud decides to go "on the lam." He runs away from the foster home and from the orphanage where he'd lived before going to the home. During the depression, many children were forced to travel by themselves. Think about Bud's experiences in the library, the bread line, and the Hooverville. Do you think he was luckier than most children on their own? Why or why not?
Times were hard for lots of people during the Great Depression- not just Bud. Talk your own families to find out about how your grandparents and great- grandparents were affected by the depression. Share their stories with your classmates.
Herman E. Calloway always made sure that one member of his band was white.
Why was it important for him to have a white band member? What could a white man do in the 1930s that a black man wasn't allowed to do?
The Great Depression took place before people had televisions. Movies and live entertainment, like jazz bands, were especially important in helping people forget their own hardships. Go to your community library and check out some CDs of 1930s jazz. You might want to listen to Betty Carter, the musical inspiration for Miss Thomas, or Billie Holiday, another legendary jazz singer. Play the music for your classmates, and discuss how this music compares to today's popular music.
After Bud's momma dies and he is moved from the orphanage into foster homes, he stops crying when things make him sad. He says he doesn't have any more tears. But when he sits in a good restaurant with Herman Calloway's band laughing and talking, he can't stop crying. Why do you think Bud cries that night?
Bud's story takes place during the 1930s, when orphanages are still common and lots of children and families have lost everything due to the Great Depression. How do you think life would be different for Bud if he was growing up today?
Bud, Not Buddy Chapters 1-3 1. Bud is in an orphanage because ___________________________________________
2. Where are Bud and Jerry being sent to? _____________________________________
How does Bud feel about it? ________________________________________________
3. What did Todd Amos do to Bud? __________________________________________
4. Where do the Amoses put Bud? ________________________________What is he
afraid of there? ______________________________
5. What does Bud carry in his suitcase? _______________________________________
6. Why do you think his suitcase and its contents are so important to him? ___________
Chapters 4-8 1. How did Bud get revenge on Todd Amos? ___________________________________
2. How does Bud get to eat at the mission even though he was late for breakfast? ______
3. What plans do Bud and Bugs make? Where do they go? ________________________
4. Describe ‘Hooperville’. __________________________________________________
5. Describe what happens in the early morning at the shanty town. __________________
Chapters 9-11 1. Why does Bud go back to the library a second time? What has he decided to do? _____
2. What does Bud compare his idea about his father to? ___________________________
3. Why does Bud think that Mr. Lewis is a vampire? _____________________________
4. What does Bud tell Lefty Lewis that he is doing out walking at night? _____________
5. Describe what happens to Bud at Scott and Kim’s house? _______________________
6. What kind of relationship does Mr. Lewis have with his daughter and her family?
Chapter 12-14 1. When Lefty Lewis and Bud start out toward Flint, what does Lefty tell Bud he has
sent to Mr. Calloway? ________________________________
2. Why was important that the cop not see the flyers in Lefty’s car? _________________
3. What is Mr. Calloway’s reaction to Bud and his news? _________________________
5. What is the band’s reaction to Bud? ________________________________________
6. Who is Miss Thomas? __________________________________What does Bud think
about her? _______________________________________________________________
7. List the nickname and instrument of each band member.
Herman E. Calloway
Harrison Eddie Patrick
8. What happens at the restaurant? ___________________________________________
Chapter 15- 19 1. Where do they take Bud? ____________________________How did it get its name?
2. Describe the flashback Bud has when Mr. Calloway warns him not to touch
anything in the bedroom. ___________________________________________________
4. What agreement or decision do they reach about Bud? ________________________
5. What does Steady Eddie bring from Bud that first morning? _____________________
6. How do the ‘rocks’ become an issue? _______________________________________
7. Why does Mr. Calloway collect rocks? ______________________________________
What does he write on them? ________________________________________________
8. Describe Mr. Calloway’s reaction to Bud’s explanation about the rocks. ____________
9. What proof does Bud have in his suitcase that proves who he and his mother are? ___
10. What instrument does the band bring Bud? _________________________ What
nickname do they give him and how do they come up with the name? _____________
11. What item does Bud keep from his suitcase? _________________________ Why do
you think he keeps that item? _______________________________________________
Bud, Not Buddy Vocabulary
period of time, after the crash on Wall Street, where there were a lot of poor, unemployed people in America
a formal agreement to be somewhere for a given time