September 2016 Issue
September 23, 2016

Check it Out: Bud, Not Buddy

Source: NYSUT United

Bud, not Buddy bookcoverWritten by: Christopher Paul Curtis

Recommended by: Barbara Thompson, school librarian, PS/IS 208, Queens, United Federation of Teachers

Recommended reading for: ages 8 to 12

Why I chose this book: I work in a very diverse school. I was looking for a book where the color of the main character's skin was a part of the plot, but not the driver of the plot itself. Bud is a strong character, a lovable and mischievous orphan living in the Flint, Mich., area during the Great Depression. The book won both the Newberry Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. It takes on racism, child abuse, poverty and homelessness while delivering hope and strength in the face of adversity.

How teachers can use this book: Even the most reluctant readers will have comments about the segregation and discrimination faced by minorities in the North and the South, the historical importance of the labor movement (the autoworkers strike in Flint plays a role), and the importance of hope, courage and hard work.

What I like best: Buddy is an endearing character. He is smart, has a kind heart and trusts all will work out for the best. His life does not evolve exactly as he had anticipated, but the ending is a happy one nonetheless.

About the author: Christopher Paul Curtis is an award-winning African- American author and former GM factory worker who was born in Flint and now lives in Detroit. His other children's book titles include The Watsons Go to Birmingham, which also won the Coretta Scott King Award and was a Newberry honor book; Bucking the Sarge and The Mighty Miss Malone, a spin-off from Bud Not Buddy. Learn more at

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to