Excerpt from Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy
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  • First Published:
    Aug 1999, 245 pages
    Jan 2002, 245 pages

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Those six exclamation points made it seem like this was the most important news anyone could think of, seems like you'd have to be really great to deserve all of those exclamation points all stacked up in a row like that.

Next the paper said, "Masters of the New Jazz," then in the middle of the flyer was a blurry picture of the man I have a real good suspicion about. I've never met him, but I have a pretty good feeling that this guy must be my father.

In the picture he's standing next to a giant fiddle that's taller than him. It looks like it's real heavy 'cause he's leaning up against it trying to hold it up. He looks like he's been doing this for a long time and he must be tired 'cause he has a droopy, dreamy look on his face. There are two men beside him, one playing drums and the other one blowing a horn.

It wasn't hard to see what the guy who must be my father was like just by looking at his picture. You could tell he was a real quiet, real friendly and smart man, he had one of those kinds of faces. Underneath the picture someone had writ with a black fountain pen, "One Night Only in Flint, Michigan, at the Luxurious Fifty Grand on Saturday June 16, 1932. 9 Until ?"

I remember Momma bringing this flyer with her when she came from working one day, I remember because she got very upset when she put it on the supper table and kept looking at it and picking it up and putting it back and moving it around. I was only six then and couldn't understand why this one got her so upset, she kept four others that were a lot like it in her dressing table, but this one really got her jumpy. The only difference I could see between the blue one and the others was that the others didn't say anything about Flint on them.

I remember this blue one too 'cause it wasn't too long after she brought it home that I knocked on Momma's bedroom door, then found her.

I put the flyer back in the suitcase with the four other one and put everything back in its place.

I went over to the big chest of drawers and took my other set of clothes out and put them in the suitcase too. I tied the twine back around my bag, then went and sat on Jerry's bed with him. Jerry must've been thinking just as hard as I was 'cause neither one of us said nothing, we just sat close enough so that our shoulders were touching.

Here we go again.

Excerpted from Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis Copyright© 1999 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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