The novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis is a fantastic piece of literature that has captured the hearts of young readers everywhere. It is a touching, engaging, and well-written story that teaches valuable lessons about perseverance, determination, and the power of friendship. It is a wonderful book to use for a novel study or literature circles, or book groups in the classroom.

Bud, Not Buddy, was published in 1999 and received the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 2000. Author, Christopher Paul Curtis, was also recognized with the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award, an award given to outstanding African-American authors.

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Bud, Not Buddy” is an excellent choice for a novel study. It offers a wealth of opportunities for students to engage with the text, explore the themes and characters, and develop their critical reading skills.
  • Relevant to Students’ Lives: Bud, Not Buddy is a coming-of-age story that deals with themes that are relevant to students’ lives. The protagonist, Bud Caldwell, is a 10-year-old boy who has been separated from his mother and is searching for his father. This is a theme that many students can relate to and will find relatable. Through Bud’s experiences, they will learn about the importance of family, perseverance, and the power of hope.
  • Contains Rich Historical Context: The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in Michigan and provides a fascinating glimpse into this time period. Students will learn about the era’s economic, social, and cultural conditions and how they shaped the lives of people like Bud. This historical context adds depth and meaning to the story and provides students with a broader understanding of the world.
  • Provides Engaging Characters: The author uses a cast of memorable and likable characters in Bud, Not Buddy, each adding a unique dimension to the story. The characters are well-developed, complex, and relatable, making them easy for students to connect with and learn from. The interactions between the characters are dynamic and engaging, providing students with plenty of opportunities to analyze relationships and develop critical thinking skills.
  • Contains an Inspiring Message: The central message of Bud, Not Buddy is one of hope and perseverance. Bud’s determination to find his father and his unwavering hope in the face of adversity is inspiring and will stay with students long after they have finished the book. The novel is a powerful reminder of the importance of resilience and the power of the human spirit.


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Bud, Not Buddy is a wonderful choice for a novel study due to its relevance to students’ lives, rich historical context, engaging characters, and inspiring message. Incorporating this novel into your curriculum will provide your students with a meaningful and enriching learning experience that they will never forget.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Bud, Not Buddy for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format, for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

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