1. This story is perfect as a springboard for individual and group research on the Depression era. Addressing selected topics such as the stock market crash of 1929, unemployment, soup kitchens, hobo jungles, the dust bowl, or President Roosevelt's many government projects, students may make use of the library, newspaper reports, films, and photo documentaries to compile their reports.
2. Have students interview older family members and friends for their memories of the Great Depression. Interviews could become an oral history collection and bound into book form.
3. Research the music of the Depression. Guiding questions: How did jazz originate? What distinguished jazz from other forms of music? Who were some of the outstanding jazz musicians of the day? What relationship does jazz have to today's music? What other forms of music were popular in the thirties?
4. Choose one of the minor characters to develop more fully and extend the story. For instance, speculate about what happened to Bugs. Where did Deza Malone and her family go after the destruction of the Hooverville? What was Jerry's experience in the foster home to which he was sent?
5. Have students respond in their reading journals to the topic of Bud as a homeless child. Guiding questions: What emotions, feelings, or mental images did his situation evoke for you? How does Bud's plight compare to homelessness in society today? If you had been in Bud's place, what would you have done?
6. Do an Internet search on author Christopher Paul Curtis, his life and work.
7. As a group project, develop a story map of Bud's travels from Flint to Grand Rapids.
8. As a group project, have students create an open mind portrait of one of the adult characters such as Miss Thomas, Herman E. Calloway, Mr. Jimmy, or Steady Eddie. Mrs. Amos might be a good subject as well.
9. As a group project, have students create a sketch to stretch portrait of the story using symbols that represent the plot and the character of Bud.
10. Write a short essay comparing Bud with Billie Jo in Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse. How are the characters alike? How are they different? What differences or similarities are to be found in the tone of the two books?
11. Write an extension or sequel to Bud, Not Buddy featuring his alter ego, Sleepy LaBone. What happens to him next?
12. Curtis alludes to the auto workers sit down strike in Detroit and the impending unionization of the pullman porters. Have students research these events. How do they compare to similar circumstances in the twenty-first century?
13. Have students choose a character, such as Deza, Bugs, or Jerry, and write letters to Bud concerning their lives and experiences since they saw him last. Have other students take the character of Bud and reply.
14. Write a skit which details the conversation between Miss Thomas and Herman E. Calloway behind closed doors.
15. Write an extension of the story that describes the Amos family's reaction when they find Bud gone.