Bud, Not Buddy Setting

Instructor: Mary Evans

Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.

Open the pages of a good book and you can be anywhere from ancient Egypt to modern America in the blink of an eye! This lesson will teach you what setting is and why understanding setting is an important part of understanding the book, 'Bud, Not Buddy.'

Understanding Setting

Setting refers to where and when a story takes place. Understanding a book's setting can help you understand the events and character's actions in the story. For example, a regular kid living in Los Angeles, California, in the year 2016 might not think twice before throwing away an unwanted peanut butter and jelly crust; but an orphan living in Flint, Michigan, in the 1930s would probably be grateful to eat it.

Historical Setting of Bud, Not Buddy

The novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is set in Flint and Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1936. This was right in the middle of the Great Depression, a time when many Americans did not have jobs, lost much of the money they had saved, and had trouble buying even basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter. And while much of America was struggling, people in Michigan had an even worse time finding work. On average, there were more unemployed, or out-of-work, people there than in the rest of the country.

Children living in poverty during the Great Depression
Great Depression Child

Flint, Michigan

Bud, Not Buddy begins in Flint, Michigan. As home to car manufacturers like Buick and Chevrolet, it was one of Michigan's major cities; but it was hit hard by the Depression. Within Flint, we get a glimpse of Bud's foster home, a mission that feeds the poor, and the public library. The foster home is a stand-alone home, probably two bedrooms, with a scary shed in the back yard. The mission is a large building, big enough for many people to sit in and eat together at once, but not a warm or friendly place. The public library is Bud's favorite place in Flint; here, the air is cold, the smell is unlike other places, and the librarians are kind.

The distance from Flint to Grand Rapids is about 113 miles.
Grand Rapids, Michigan and Flint, Michigan

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