Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis
This delightful first novel by author Christopher Paul Curtis follows a young orphan during the Great Depression as he searches for his biological father following the untimely and tragic death of his mother. The adventures of Bud (not Buddy!) lead us into the worlds of foster care, musicians, Michigan, and most especially African-Americans, during this difficult period in our nation’s history. Bud’s persistent searching finally pays off, though in ways inconceivable to this young character; and Bud finds that he had more love and family waiting for him that he could ever have imagined.Bud, Not Buddy naturally leads to discussions of Fortitude and Hope as we follow Bud on his journey to find his father. Justice and Temperance become the focus of discussions when Bud is unfairly judged and mistreated by foster parents and then given an opportunity to “pay them back” for their injustices. Time and time again Bud shows Temperance as he experiences mistreatments, misunderstandings and mishaps along his journey. Finally, the story tenderly portrays Agape to Bud from Miss Thomas and some of the other band members as the truths behind Bud’s presumptions are discovered.
This book gives us a hero in which to hook our own longings to be unconditionally loved, our own hopes of finding what we search for, and our own dreams of standing up for what we believe in. It is both an excellent first book for light readers and a stellar introduction into the worlds of Christopher Paul Curtis. The Watsons go to Birmingham–1963, where “Uncle Bud” makes a cameo appearance, is highly recommended as a “next generation” companion novel to Bud, Not Buddy.