Topics for Discussion

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1. Curtis's use of dialogue lends itself well to readers theater. Choose a selection such as Bud's first encounter with the jazz band or the story of how Bugs got his name, and perform the scene for the class.

2. View a 1930s Shirley Temple movie such as Little Miss Marker. Discuss how the film compares to Bud, Not Buddy. Are there similarities or differences? Which is more true to life? Why do you think Shirley Temple was such a popular child star? Would she have appealed to Bud? Why or why not?

3. Create a panel discussion of the pros and cons of placing children in foster homes. Could Bud's experience still apply? Why or why not?

4. How does the structure of Bud, Not Buddy, compare to Curtis's earlier work, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963? Is one more accessible or easier to follow than the other? Why or why not?

5. What stereotypes, if any, exist in Bud, Not Buddy? How do those stereotypes contribute to the story?

6. Was Curtis low key handling of racial issues successful? Why or why not?

7. Discuss the theme of the child's search for home and family. Why is this such a persistent theme in much fiction for young adults?

8. Curtis touches on the issue of the nontraditional family. How does this concept reflect the saying "Home is where the heart is?" How does it compare to family life in the twenty-first century?

9. In small groups, discuss personal journal responses to the story. How do they compare? What are the similarities and differences?

10. Discuss Herman E. Calloway's reaction to Bud's true identity. Speculate on how he will cope with his relationship to the child. What will he do next?

11. Discuss Curtis's use of language and humor in Bud, Not Buddy. How do these elements add to the story? How do they define character?

12. Discuss the tone of the story. There are incidents of joy, violence, and despair. How does Curtis handle these components of light and dark?

13. Have students listen to the audiobook Bud, Not Buddy. Discuss the usefulness of books on tape and how they may enhance or detract from the written version.

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