Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, Not Buddy

Book - 1999
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, 1999.
ISBN: 9780385323062
Characteristics: viii, 245 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.


Featured Blogs and Events

Coretta Scott Book Awards= 50 years of excellence!

All year long the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the nation celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Award. Awarded annually, the awards serve as a guide for parents, librarians and caregivers, for the most outstanding books for youth by African American authors and illustrators that reflect African American culture and universal human… (more)

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ArapahoeMarcia Oct 26, 2018

A truly amazing story of a young boy working to overcome numerous life struggles during the Depression era in the Midwest. Highly recommended!

Mar 21, 2018

My feelings about Bud, Not Buddy are colored strongly by the circumstances under which I read it. It was an assigned book in my 7th grade English class, and we were required to pull a set number of vocabulary words from the book. There were not enough words in the book that I did not know, and thus I was given extra work to make up for it. This was frustrating, and made it hard for me to like the book as much. I do remember liking the story.

Dec 13, 2017

This book was interesting and also touching. It was also very relatable, especially considering it all took place in the Midwest... specifically Grand Rapids, Mi. (Where Im from). Got this book for my 11 year old son. Great read!!

Oct 09, 2017

Bud, Not Buddy is a book about a foster kid who ditches his home and looks for his 'father'. I didn't enjoy this book as much as others. I like any action, which there was almost none of in this book. However, there is a lot of funny parts!

MsCourtney Jul 07, 2017

Bud is not a book I would normally read. It came highly recommended by KHCPL_Mikayla and for good reason. Bud is a funny, heart-warming character who hasn't let life get him down. He has this optimistic yet realistic outlook on life and pulls you into his drama with a smile on your face. I am putting this aside to re-read with my oldest in a couple of years. Bud will be a great read for boys, especially.

TSCPL_NatalieM Sep 09, 2016

This middle grades novel, winner of both the Coretta Scott King Award and the John Newbery Medal, follows the journey of ten-year-old Bud, who runs away from his foster home in search of his father. Bud lost his mother when he was 6, but he never lost the upbringing she gave him. Bud is notable for his tenacity, his introspectiveness, and his impeccable manners. Several of the characters in the novel are loosely based on Curtis’s ancestors, and he manages to realistically capture the heartbreaking challenges people experienced during the Great Depression without making the story depressing or sad.

Apr 27, 2016

The book was given a Newberry medal for a reason. It was also very accurate for the time period. Bud, Not Buddy is a very depressing book at first. There is some abuse and, him being an orphan, it has a sad backstory. But Bud's fun and sometimes hilarious commentary adds life to the depressing (literally, this is set in the depression) setup. Bud's adventure is exciting and often dangerous. But Bud always finds his way out of problems, and manages to survive on his own. A very good read. Without any spoilers, the ending is honestly kind of confusing and sad, and I want to see where the author takes it from here. But otherwise, the book was good and I recommend it.

JCLBeckyC Mar 03, 2016

I liked this book even better than Curtis' other Newbery Medal winner, The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963. Bud is a feisty ten-year-old orphan growing up in Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression. While escaping an abusive foster home, Bud encounters kindness in unusual places. Highly recommended for kids who are interested in history and social justice issues.

Aug 15, 2015

This book was one of the best books I've ever read. I really enjoyed this book and it has a great theme. This book also has amazing characters and settings. I really enjoyed this book, and I hope you do too.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Apr 01, 2015

Winner of the 2000 Newbery medal, this is the story of an African-American boy (named Bud, surprise surprise) in 1930s Michigan. Not a lot of action to hold kids' interest but a good, vivid depiction of a different era and its attendant racial issues, with some lovely characters.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Mar 15, 2018

taupe_mosquito_4 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

green_zebra_735 Aug 11, 2017

green_zebra_735 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 99 and 99

Dec 30, 2016

H82BL8r thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

pink_flamingo_298 Apr 10, 2016

pink_flamingo_298 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

viviandai Nov 26, 2015

viviandai thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 1 and 99

Aug 15, 2015

sky19 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Mar 27, 2014

violet_cat_3882 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

black_butterfly_156 Jul 01, 2012

black_butterfly_156 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Columasian Jun 08, 2012

Columasian thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 15

Jun 03, 2011

emsavelli thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

View All Ages


Add a Summary
lms May 07, 2008

"when 10-year-old Bud Caldwell runs away from his new home, he realizes he has nowhere to go but to search for the father he has never known: a legendary musician advertised on some old posters his deceased mother had kept. A friendly stranger picks him up on the road in the middle of the night and deposits him in Grand Rapids, MI, with Herman E. Calloway and his jazz band, but the man Bud was convinced was his father turns out to be old, cold, and cantankery. Luckily, the band members are more welcoming; they take him in, put him to work, and begin to teach him to play an instrument. In a Victorian ending, Bud uses the rocks he has treasured from his childhood to prove his surprising relationship with Mr. Calloway. The lively humor contrasts with the grim details of the Depression-era setting and the particular difficulties faced by African Americans at the time." (Novelist Review)


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top