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Through Bud's Eyes: An exploration of the history behind the novel Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

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Language Arts And English Age Levels Elementary (9 to 12 years old), Middle School (13 to 15 years old), Primary (5 to 8 years old)
The historical fiction novel Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis, is the story of ten year old orphan Bud's quest to try to find his father in Michigan during the Great Depression. Bud may be an orphan on the lam from a cruel foster home, but he's on a mission. His mother died before revealing who his father was, but she left a clue: posters of Herman E. Calloway and his famous jazz band. With the help of a kind librarian, Bud sets out to hit the road and find his father. It is often difficult for students to discern fact from the author's fiction in historical fiction. This collection will provide background knowledge of the history behind the story.

Targeted Vocabulary: Orphan, migrant, segregation, mission, soup kitchen, Pullman Porter, Redcap, Negro Baseball League, shanty, Hooverville, jazz, and Great Depression

Student partners or small groups each select an artifact to research and present to the class. This may be done before staring the novel, after sections of the story, or after completing the novel.

Hooverville

Smithsonian American Art Museum

“In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town” Sheet Music

National Museum of American History

Louisville & Nashville Railroad Porter's Cap

National Museum of American History

Baseball at Night

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Cab Calloway

National Portrait Gallery

Herbert Hoover

National Portrait Gallery

"Migrant Mother," by Dorothea Lange

National Museum of American History

An unemployed man sits on Michigan Avenue, Chicago

National Museum of American History

Dismissal notice

Archives of American Art

Boy sitting on a bed in the oil boom town of Freer

National Museum of American History

Back of the Yards

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Dispossessed

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Franklin D. Roosevelt

National Portrait Gallery

Back o' the Yards #3

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Somewhere in America

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Untitled

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Negro Motorist Green-Book

National Museum of African American History and Culture