for Understanding Buddy
by Marc Kornblatt
Silent, withdrawn Buddy White, a new kid in Sam Keeperman’s school, is an easy target for the other kids’ teasing. But Sam won’t join in. He knows Buddy’s mom died over the summer in a car accident. Buddy’s mother worked for his family as a cleaning woman. Sam can’t imagine what it would be like to lose his mom, and he is not sure what to say to Buddy. But his first awkward gestures toward Buddy slowly blossom into friendship. At the same time, Sam’s relationship with his own best friend — who doesn’t like Buddy — is jeopardized. This novel set in Madison features a contemporary Jewish American child (and, in Buddy, a contemporary child whose family members are Jehovah’s Witnesses) whose questions about death, life, religion, and the meaning of friendship are explored with honesty and sensitivity. (Ages 9–12)
CCBC Choices 2002 . © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002. Used with permission.
Everyone in Sam Keeperman's fifth-grade class thinks the new boy, Buddy White, is strange.
Buddy won't talk, or smile, or even pick up a pencil, and he walks all hunched over, like someone caught in the rain. Some of the kids make fun of Buddy, but not Sam. That's because Sam knows what's bothering him: Three months ago, Buddy's mom was killed in a car accident. She used to clean Sam's house, and ever since Sam found out what happened to her, he can't get her out of his mind. Sam sticks up for Buddy, but the other kids start picking on Sam, too. Even Sam's best friend turns against him.
The more time Sam spends with Buddy -- and the more Buddy comes out of his shell -- the more Sam understands what it means to lose someone you love. And what it means to be a friend.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.