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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 4-6:

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud, Not Buddy is the story of ten-year-old orphan Bud Caldwell and his heartwarming journey to find a family and a sense of belonging. We chose this novel for its thoughtful attention to the powerful social and emotional themes of poverty, racism, family, perseverance, and hope. Although the book is set in Depression-era America, the novel is deeply relevant for young readers today; this curriculum will help students build connections between Bud’s touching life journey and their own.


Search for family and a sense of belonging, with courageous Bud Caldwell, a ten-year-old, African-American boy of the Depression Era. His journey is filled with highs and lows and his optimism carries him to an unintended, but welcome outcome.

Bud becomes an orphan at the age of six and endures tough times in the orphanage and difficult stays in foster homes. Bud runs away and hits the road on an adventurous journey. He sets his sights on finding the mystery man depicted on a flyer that once belonged to his mother; Bud suspects that this man is his father.

On his journey, Bud carries an old suitcase filled with his hodgepodge of treasured belongings. As a means to survive, he constructs a list of “Rules and Things For Having a Funner Life and Make a Better Liar Out of Yourself.” Along the way, Bud has lots of adventures and close calls, but with the help of kind strangers, he is supported and able to continue on his journey.

Eventually, he finds an unlikely family in a music band that has connections to his beloved mother.

Author:  Christopher Paul Curtis

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Fourteen individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 96
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”



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