Bud, Not Buddy is a story that takes place in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. As if the Great Depression isn't hard enough to live through, Bud is having to do it without his mother who is deceased. Bud encounters several people, places, and hunger throughout his journey to find his father, or who he thinks his father is, Herman E. Calloway. Everywhere Bud goes, his suitcases filled with meaningful things does too. Once Bud reaches his destination, he finds Herman E. Calloway, who turns out to be his grandfather. Bud feels a sense of comfort and safety with his grandfather and decides to let go of his suitcase, symbolizing reuniting his mother with her father and finally returning back "home".
This book could be used in a 3-5 grade classroom. It could be used in social studies to discuss the 1930s era and what took place during the Great Depression. Students could also create a symbolism project by making their own suitcase and filling it with things that symbolizes them.