Lesson: Historical Fiction Character Feelings/Theme: Bud, Not Buddy (Lesson 16)

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Lesson Objective

When characters’ feelings change, it is usually because they have learned an important lesson. It is the readers’ job to figure out what that lesson is.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 16:


  • Determine character motivation and feelings from thoughts, dialogue, actions, and punctuation.  Trace how and why characters’ feelings change over the course of a text and how that helps establish a theme.
  • Determine the purpose of individual sentences and paragraphs and their role in the text. 
  • Identify supporting evidence and provide elaboration for inferences.


Big Idea: People are influenced by and react to their setting so you need to consider the setting carefully. Readers of historical fiction can use what they know about a setting to understand character actions, feelings, motivations, and traits to make predictions.


Teaching Point: When characters’ feelings change, it is usually because they have learned an important lesson. It is the readers’ job to figure out what that lesson is.


Reading binders, pencils, copies of Bud, Not Buddy, sequencing handout for independent practice  


Reading Workshop Lesson:

  •  Readers, we’ve discussed Bud’s feeling changes and Herman E. Calloway’s feeling changes. In the last chapter we read, Herman E. Calloway was shocked to learn that Bud’s mom is Herman’s daughter, Angela. Herman is Bud’s grandfather! We are going to read the last chapter of Bud, Not Buddy today, and we are going to keep close track of how Bud and Herman E. Calloway react to this news. Usually, when characters’ feelings change after such an important event, it’s because they’ve learned an important lesson, so we are also going to discuss what the theme or lesson in Bud, Not Buddy, is.   
  • [Read Chapter 19 up to the bottom of page 218 after Bud sees Herman Calloway crying.] How is Herman reacting to the news that Bud’s mother is dead and Bud is his grandson? How do you know?
  • [Stop on page 220 after it says, “It felt a lot better going out frontwards instead of sneaking out backwards.”] How does Bud react when he sees Herman Calloway crying? Would we have reacted that way normally? What does that tell us about Bud’s feelings toward Herman?
  • [Stop at the bottom of page 224.] Why does Bud say that he wants to laugh and cry at the same time?
  • [Stop after the last full paragraph on page 232.] Why does Bud leave the rocks and the flyers for Herman?
  • [Read to the end of the chapter. Take a few general comments.] Readers, when we finish reading a book, instead of putting it down right away, we should spend a little bit of time thinking about the book as a whole.  We do this so that we can understand the book on a deeper level and get everything that we possibly can from it.  Today, we are going to spend some time thinking about the theme of this book. 
  • Before I get any further into talking about this, I want you to take a minute to think about what the theme of this book might be and then take two minutes to talk with your partner about the theme of this book. 
  • Sometimes we understand the theme right away and sometimes we need to think more about the theme.  We can figure out the theme of a book by thinking about how the main character’s feelings changed during the course of the book.  What’s are some big, important feeling changes that Bud has?  [T&T and write some of them up on the easel.]
    • But used to get nervous whenever anyone had his suitcase, but now he doesn’t need the suitcase or the items in it.
    • Bud changed from feeling like he had to find his father to feeling like the band was his family. 
    • But changed from disliking Herman Calloway to feeling compassion for him
    • So, now I am going to look at all of those big, important changes and think about how they are all related – that’s probably the theme.  I am going to give you a minute to think about that and then two minutes to talk again with your partner and see what you think the theme is now.  [T&T]
    • So it seems like people figured out that the theme of this book is about family.  I agree.  This book is all about Bud’s quest to find his father, and it turns out that he finds a different family than he thought he would.  So I think that the theme is about families and the importance of having people who care about you.
    • Readers, you can do this in any fiction text that you read.  You can think about the important feeling changes in a text to think about its theme. You can find themes in historical fiction just like you can in realistic fiction and folktales. In your historical fiction reading – and in all fiction reading for the rest of your life – you should consider the main character’s feeling changes and think about the lesson they learn that causes their feelings to change.


Lesson Resources

Chapter 19 - Sequencing practice.docx  


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