Bud, Not Buddy

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Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy.jpg
Front cover of Bud, Not Buddy.
Author Christopher Paul Curtis
Country United States
Language English
Genre Adult humor, Multicultural fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher Delacorte Books for Adult Readers
Publication date
September 2, 1999
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 245 pages
ISBN 0-385-32306-9
OCLC 40744296
LC Class PZ7.C94137 Bu 1999

Bud, Not Buddy is a children's novel written by Christopher Paul Curtis, published in 1999. The book received the 2000 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature. Christopher Paul Curtis was also recognized with the 2000 Coretta Scott King Award, an award given to outstanding African-American authors.[1][2]

Story Bud Caldwell is a ten-year-old orphan, living in Flint, Michigan, in 1936. Since the death of his mother four years earlier, Bud has been living in an orphanage and had short stints in several foster homes. The few items he has left of his mother include: a blanket, a bag of rocks, a photograph of his mother as a child, and fliers that show Herman E. Calloway and his jazz band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.

The story opens with Bud being placed with a new foster family, the Amoses. Bud soon meets Todd Amos, their 12-year-old son, who teases him mercilessly and calls him Buddy. After a fight with Todd, Bud is forced to spend the night in the garden shed. In the shed, Bud mistakes a hornet nest for a vampire bat and hits the nest with a rake. This upsets the hornets and Bud gets stung.

After escaping the shed, Bud takes revenge on Todd by making him look like he wet his bed (he did this by pouring water on Todd). He escapes and sleeps under a Christmas tree for the night. His friend Bugs wakes him up so they can go to the West.

Bud runs away with Bugs. They try to hop on a train, but only Bugs does. Bud starts walking to go to Grand Rapids, Michigan. On the way he meets Lefty Lewis who gives him a ride in his car to Grand Rapids to find his father, as he calls him, Herman E. Calloway.

Bud later discovers that Herman E. Calloway is his grandfather when he meets the band. The band treats Bud with kindness, but Herman treats Bud with great animosity. Bud delivers the news that Bud's mom, Angela, is dead. This brings great grief to Herman.

The story ends with Bud receiving a horn from the band, and Bud thinks he will have a bright future. It also ends with Bud finding out that the dead girl's room that he sleeps in, is his mother's room.

Stage adaptation[edit]

Bud, Not Buddy was adapted for the stage by Reginald Andre Jackson[3] for Black History Month, in Fremont, California. The production premiered in 2006 at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. It has been produced several times, including at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Main Street Theatre in Houston and the University of Michigan-Flint. Jackson's adaptation was published by Dramatic Publishing in 2009. It won the Distinguished Play Award (Adaptation) from The American Alliance for Theatre and Education in 2010.[3]

Preceded by
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
A Year Down Yonder
Preceded by
Coretta Scott King Author Award
Succeeded by
Miracle's Boys
Preceded by
Winner of the
William Allen White Children's Book Award
Grades 6–8

Succeeded by
Dovey Coe


  1. ^ Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present, American Library Association, retrieved 2012-11-14
  2. ^ Coretta Scott King Book Award Complete List of Recipients—by Year, American Library Association, retrieved 2012-11-14
  3. ^ a b "Reginald Andre Jackson". freeholdtheatre.org. Seattle: Freehold Theatre. Retrieved March 31, 2016.