Examining Themes in the book Bud, Not Buddy

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SWBAT determine and analyze recurring themes in the book Bud, Not Buddy through the use of graphic organizers and generate a creative book report to advertise the book based on a theme.

Big Idea

Students will illustrate a theme from Bud, Not Buddy through generation of a creative book report (i.e., flyer, newspaper, game, interview with the author, etc.). Through examination of these themes, students will make real world connections.


1 minutes


4 minutes

I begin the lesson by asking my scholars whether they have ever created a creative book report?  Most are curious as to what a creative book report is so I tell them that in this lesson we will examine themes in the book Bud, Not Buddy and complete creative book reports.  I tell them that a creative book report is simply a unique, non-traditional way of reporting about a book, like a newspaper, flyer, interview, poster, etc.  I further explain, a theme is simply a big, recurring idea in a story.  Some examples of themes in Bud, Not Buddy are "hope," and "people helping people."  Next, we brainstorm a list of themes for Bud, Not Buddy and create a Wordle word cloud of the themes.  See attached resource of Wordle created by my class.  (Teacher may click on www.wordle.net to create a world cloud for your class.)

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For the guided practice portion of the lesson, I tell my scholars we will continue to examine recurring themes in Bud, Not Buddy.  I tell them a theme is just a big idea that keeps appearing throughout the story.  Now that we have brainstormed some themes that in Bud, Not Buddy, we'll complete a Theme Analysis graphic organizer together. I explain that one theme that is present is hope. The evidence in the text that shows hope is present is when Bud's mother tells him "when one door closes, don't worry, another door opens." (Teacher fills in Theme Analysis graphic organizer with "hope" and the evidence.) "People helping people" is another theme that is present. The evidence of this theme is when Lefty Lewis helps Bud by providing him a ride to Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Teacher writes "people helping people on the Theme Analysis graphic organizer and the piece of evidence.) Can someone tell me another piece of evidence from the text which demonstrates the theme "people helping people?"  (Teacher adds other pieces of evidence for the theme "people helping people to the Theme Analysis graphic organizer.) Next, i ask my scholars to decide on 3 themes on which they wish to focus for their creative book report. Then, fill in those themes on their Theme Analysis graphic organizer with evidence of their choices.

(Possible themes:  survival, hope, friendship, family relationships, people helping people, sense of humor, fate or destiny, racism/segregation, unemployment, homelessness, big bands, unions, orphanage, when one door closes don't worry God will open another door, perseverance, etc.)

Independent Practice

35 minutes

Next, I ask my scholars to please take a minute to select one theme and decide how they would like to illustrate that theme in the form of a creative book report to advertise the book Bud, Not Buddy.  I suggest that they consider choosing to do a flyer, newspaper, game, or an interview with the author to name a few.  I found examining themes such as racism/segregation, homelessness, unions, and big bands were concepts that required my students to think about deeply.  They more easily related to themes like friendship, hope, perseverance, sense of humor, the importance of family relationships. 


5 minutes

To close the lesson we completed an exit slip to respond to the following prompts:  List 3 things you wonder about after reading Bud, Not Buddy; List 2 questions (1 question for each of them) you would like to ask Bud's mother and Mr. Herman E. Calloway;  and List 1 thing you predict will happen to Bud in the future after the end of the story.  This 3-2-1 countdown approach to closing the lesson helps my scholars to "take off" with their own ideas and wonderings.  I have found it to be a creative approach to empower my scholars to expound upon their ideas after reading a text.