Bud, Not Buddy is a children’s novel written by Christopher Paul Curtis set during the time of the Great Depression in the United States. The novel tells the story of an African American boy named Bud Caldwell who becomes orphaned when his mother dies. He is later adopted and sent to a foster home but leaves due to abuses that he experiences. He searches for the person the thinks is his father. The significance of the title is shown early on in the novel.
When a caseworker asks him if he is Buddy Caldwell, he corrects her by saying that it is “Bud, not Buddy. ” Bud gives this correction in order to remind not only the caseworker but the people around him that he is already an adult and not a boy anymore. Bud later shows just what he means by telling another kid, Jerry, in the orphanage that the kid will have a better life compared to what he will be facing. This small gesture immediately makes an impression on Jerry who is now not afraid of being adopted anymore.
As the story progresses, we are shown just how much of a kid Bud is. However despite having fear, as most kids have, like vampires, Bud continues on his journey. While he does not find what he is looking for, he does find people that he can call his own and discovers the beauty of jazz at the same time. While still a ten-year old kid, Bud shows the readers just how much of an adult he is. Despite the hardships that he has undergone, he continually reveals just how much of a survivor he is.
He not only manages to practice the good manners taught to him by his mother, but is also resourceful and even innovative. By giving the correction to how what his real name is, Bud, not Buddy, the main protagonist shows us how he wants to be an adult and be responsible. The book works well not only on adults but on kids as well. While the book has some serious themes like segregation during the 1930s, it also has themes that children can relate to like helping people or the concept of fate.