“Bud, Not Buddy” Book Cover Photo: Penguin Random House.
By: Victor Mays, Reporter
“Bud not Buddy” is the story of an orphan who tries to find his real father from clues that he believes his deceased mother left for him in an old suitcase.
The story tackles race, child abuse and abandonment issues. Christoper Paul Curtis, the author of the books makes it acceptable for a young audience.
Curtis wrote other very successful books for kids that center around similar topics such as race. One such book is “The Watsons Go To Birmingham” which won the John Newbery Medal and the Golden Kite Award for fiction.
Bud is an African American kid during the great depression who journeys from Flint to Grand Rapids, Michigan. He often struggles to find a place to rest his head at night and struggles to figure out where his next meal might come from.
He meets and makes friends along the way. Friends like Bugs who is a fellow orphan that escapes from foster homes almost as often as Bud does. He also meets Deza Malone who was a brief romantic interest that gave Bud his first kiss and his reluctant friendship with Lefty Lewis.
Lewis was a kind man who finds Bud on the street and tries to help him. He gave bud a place to stay and food to eat. He even helped him find his forever home.
Not all the characters are nice either. Mr. and Ms. Amos abused the boy at his temporary foster home and let their son physically beat Bud. While that plot point might not seem suitable for kids, it is still suitable for teenagers. The scenes are a little too descriptive in the words they use for children.
Bud meets a man named Herman E. Callo- way who is a famous lead musician for a band in Grand Rapids Michigan. He joins this ragtag group of musicians and more antics and adventures happen from there.
This story was my favorite book as a child. As a young black kid growing up in Maryland, this was my first introduction to racism. I also related to the fact that he was an adopted kid. This book touched on many tough topics and subjects.
There was the subject of loss and death. Bud had to come to terms with losing his mother. He also had to come to terms with being in an abusive foster home and then eventually homelessness as a black kid in the great depression. They even touched on absentee fathers and family trauma.
Bud’s longing to find a place to belong in the world and to find his family is such a relatable struggle to anyone. The story makes Bud a likable character. He is very naive, especially when he thought Lefty Lewis was a vampire because he was transporting blood.
“Bud Not Buddy” is a well written book that is funny and easy to read. It is also not scared to tackle some tough subjects for kids. I think the book is important for everyone to read at least once. The journey that Bud takes is a very inspiring and fantastic read.