Bud, Not Buddy
by Christopher Paul Curtis
In 1936 in Flint, Michigan, 10-year-old Buddy Caldwell has had it with foster homes. Taking his cue from a blue poster, all he has left of his late mother, he sets out to find the man he believes is his father: jazz musician Herman E. Calloway. Christopher Paul Curtis mixes poignancy and humor (especially Bud’s “Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar out of Yourself”), as the young hero travels to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Calloway owns a jazz club. While Calloway does not greet the boy too warmly, the other musicians in the man’s band do. They have colorful names like Steady Eddie, Doug the Thug, and Doo-Doo Bug Cross, and then there’s the kindly Miss Thomas, too. Despite the difficult times brought on by the Depression, Buddy and his newfound friends find some bright spots. Your youngsters will have a tough time putting this tale down.