Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas” as Want to Read:
The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The greatest entertainer of his era, Buffalo Bill was the founder and star of the legendary show that featured cowboys, Indians, trick riding, and sharpshooters.

But long before stardom, Buffalo Bill—born Billy Cody—had to grow up fast. While homesteading in Kansas just before the Civil War, his family was caught up in the conflict with neighboring Missouri over whether Kan
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 3rd 2015 by Two Lions (first published October 20th 2015)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  121 ratings  ·  45 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Julie H
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked it and learned a bunch about Kansas!
Ron Camp
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a real American Hero. It starts with his birth and will take you thru an amazing life. This is a book all boys should and everyone would enjoy.
Warren herself points out in the author's note at the end of the book that her focus here was not entirely on Buffalo Bill, but on Bleeding Kansas and the events surrounding Kansas's statehood. And seeing as William Cody spent part of his childhood as well as his teenage years in Kansas at that time, he made a great way to tell the story of what was going on in Kansas at that time. Using Cody's own words as well as those of other family members and witnesses, Warren does a great job of sharing t ...more

Featured in "Historical Nonfiction for Young Readers" on Intellectual Recreation.

Before Buffalo Bill became Buffalo Bill and the famous star of his wild west show, he was Billy Cody, a boy growing up in Kansas.

The Codys moved to Kansas and settled near Leavenworth in 1853, just as the tensions between Kansas and Missouri were heating up. Isaac Cody, Billy's father was a Free Stater, and the family became embroiled in the conflict almost immediately.

Andrea Warren set out to write a book about
THE BOY WHO BECAME BUFFALO BILL by Andrea Warren is an engrossing nonfiction adventure featuring young Billy Cody.

This compelling true story details young Billy Cody’s life growing up on the plains and ultimately becoming an entertainer. Although the book discusses the Wild West show, emphasis is placed on his younger years. The bulk of the biography explores his tween and young adult years in Kansas, his role in the Civil War, and his work as a scout and guide.

The author skillfully weaves hist
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a biography of the frontier showman Buffalo Bill Cody, but so much more. It presents a vivid portrait of his childhood set before a backdrop of the violence of pre-civil War history in Kansas and Missouri. So much of this aspect of U.S. History was unknown to me, raised in New England and spending my adult years in Virginia, that I was fascinated by the events that shaped young Billy. Like any good work of history, it led me to investigate further on my own, but by providing extensi ...more
Wendy Morlan
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Written by talented Kansas author Andrea Warren, I throughly enjoyed reading this book about young Billy Cody. I knew only the basics most of us had heard about Buffalo Bill, how he earned his name and about his lengthy career as a successful showman. But I knew little about his early life and exploits, and was amazed that he survived them. Warren provides many historical details and also lists resources that provide ideas for further study.
Dawn R Cole
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this book as a 72 year old to learn info about Billy Cody and was so interested to learn all the history of Kanas and the boarder wars. How is it that I have lived so long and never known any of this??!!..I highly recommend this book to any who are interested in our history..especially mid western and western history. Cody was a part of it all!
Donna Wisecup
Billy Cody and the wild west.

Must-read about Buffalo Bill as child growing up during one of bloodiest times in history of west. Well written, lots of history.
Paul Fournier
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful history of a great Pioneer.

My interest in Buffalo Bill was due to my father's stories about the show he saw many years ago in Holyoke, MA and that there were ' Real Indians'
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Wild horses. Indian attacks. Buffalo hunts. Wagon trains. Imagine growing up in an era where those things still happened. Billy Cody moved with his family from Iowa to Kansas. His father hoped for a free state, but some folks in neighboring Missouri wanted another slave state and it caused enormous problems. There were vigilantes, border raids, ballot boxes were stuffed with illegal votes, and his father was stabbed by a man just for saying he wanted Kansas to be free. Although his father was no ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First reviewed on Literaritea

What It Is: A middle grades biography of Buffalo Bill

What It’s About: Buffalo Bill may be the title character of this wild ride, but Bleeding Kansas just prior to the Civil War takes center stage. Billy Cody came of age during a particularly turbulent, violent time right on the border of Kansas and Missouri. Pro-slave factions were set out to kill his anti-slave father; that combined with the usual suspects (disease, general economic hardship, pioneer struggles, etc.
Jim Galford
Feb 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The flow is jerky and jumpy, very patchy writing. The details are basically watered-down versions designed to not offend any reader and in so doing, offends nearly all.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"You seem to have a reputation as a frontiersman, Billy."

When the Codys left Iowa for Kansas (after the death of their oldest son, Sam), they had no idea they were walking into one of the nation's bloodiest border wars. The fight between pro-slavery Missouri and anti-slavery Kansas was starting to heat up and some say, were the beginning battles of the Civil War. Bill's father Isaac, being anti-slavery, became a target early on. And by the time he was 11, Bill became the man of the family upon h
gary c lehn
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book...

I was very moved by this story. The author opened my eyes to the real Bill Cody. Andrea brought forth a large piece of history that I was not aware of. Great story.
Dawn Moews
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: n1, juvenile
Every generation produces some people who are almost larger than life. Buffalo Bill Cody was such a person. This adventuring showman was responsible for bringing a view of the "rugged west" to people all over the world. Usually when we read about Buffalo Bill, we are reading about his buffalo hunting or his wild west show. In this book, Andrea Warren helps us to see how Billy Cody became Buffalo Bill.

Frankly, I had never given Bill Cody's childhood a thought prior to picking up this book. It is
I enjoy how Andrea Warren uses one individual's story to give a more personal picture of a time in history. I knew Bill Cody had an interesting life story and expected mostly details of how he grew up developing skills as a horseman and scout, but this book is about much more than that. It does include many interesting details about the jobs that he did to support his family as he grew up, including herding livestock for wagon trains and delivering mail as a Pony Express Rider, but it is also ve ...more
Karen Korb
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My Thoughts On The Book: This was my first book by Andrea Warren and it will not be my last. When I was young I loved reading about the wild west and what their daily lives were like. I grew up reading about Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok and loved them all. My father would read these stories to me at bedtime and in the mind of a young girl I wanted to live their lives. The problem was that those stories were glamorized for young children to read. Until I read this book I never tru ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is targeted for middle grade readers, although I think many adults would enjoy it--I did. It focuses on the life of Billy Cody as a child and young adult but does spend some time talking about his time with his Wild West show, which is what most people know of Bill Cody. I learned many things I did not know before about Kansas and its fight to become a state, the terrible events that occurred leading up to the Civil War which foreshadowed what was to come for the rest of the nation, de ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was actually quite fun. I wanted to read it because I am from Cody, Wyoming--the town Buffalo Bill founded. I never really knew about his early life, so this was rather interesting to me. He was a very unique and upbeat child, thrown into adult roles long before he should have. His optimism and enthusiasm was inspiring. He was just a good kid, turned into an honest and good man. I rather enjoyed getting to know him better. This history is aimed at kids, so it didn't get into a lot of d ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from Goodreads.

I immediately liked how easy this book was to read and how smooth the words flowed. When I began reading this book I thought it would be a normal run of the mill biography. I didn't imagine that it would be a tantalizing adventure in bleeding Kansas right smack in the middle of the civil war and that I would go from reading about the west to reading about England and the Queen. It was exciting and informative reading about Billy Cody and how he had to step up
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy this book. I received a copy from netgalley in exchange for my review and thought it would be a quick, easy read.
I was engrossed the whole time! I never really gave any thought to where Buffalo Bill came from or what he went through to become the superstar he was. His life was fascinating.

Not only does the author give us Billy Cody's history but she also gives a lot of America's history at the time. I got to read about John Brown, Wild Bill, Bleeding Kansas an
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I enjoyed the book because I really did not know anything about Buffalo Bill, and this book did a good job of giving the history (and showing what may or may not be rumor) about the man. That being said, I took off a star because I thought it was a little disorganized when I got to the notes at the end. I felt like those facts could have been included throughout instead of added as an afterthought at the end. I also did not like getting to the end of his life and ...more
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: goodreads
Aimed at middle school readers, this book is so well-written as to be enjoyable
by an adult who was not aware of William Cody other than as the goateed head
of the Wild West Show. Based on Cody's own memoirs, it tends to be a bit
uncritical of the tales of his very hectic youth, and glosses over his post-Civil War
ventures into the exploitation of the West banded with Wild Bill Hickok. But there
is much good value in the descriptions of the conflict over the establishment of slavery
in the frontier s
Amanda Tero
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I began this book wanting to get a balance of non-fiction in my reading. At first, I thought I would tolerate it as a children's book, but I quickly gained interest as Warren detailed not only Bill Cody's life, but the historical events around his life. There was a definite emphasis on Bloody Kansas and it's fight over slavery--sometimes I forgot that the book was supposed to be about Billy. Some might see that as a disclaimer (Billy forgotten while history was detailed), but I personally enjoye ...more
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, teen, children
The very simplistic way Warren elides the extremely complicated relationship between Bill Cody as Indian Hunter/Indian admirer is almost laughable. This book prioritizes facts and simplicity over critical investigation, rendering a fascinating life-story into a rather white-washed version of a horrific time period. In her effort to make the boy Bill Cody the uncomplicated hero of the story, Warren manages to gloss over aspects of his life that would actually make the book more compelling. Howev ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Megan by: JoLee
Excellent children's nonfiction that makes for fantastic adult reading, too. I learned SO much about Bleeding Kansas, Buffalo Bill, John Brown, and a place and period in history that wasn't covered in enough detail in school. Plus, it's short and engrossingly entertaining! I appreciated the Mormon references and asides, as well as the look at the Pony Express. I almost chose this as a book group pick, but then another book eclipsed it. I wouldn't mind reading it again to get more of the facts in ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-ya, children
I thoroughly enjoyed this story of Bill Cody. One of the things that made this so fascinating for me is that my grandfathers' family were early pioneers of Missouri and Kansas, and were rumored to have known Bill Cody. After reading this book, I am fairly confident that they did. My great grandfather sold mules to the military at Leavenworth. Since my mother and her siblings grew up in Lawrence it opened my eyes to things that they experienced, as well as learning a lot about a fascinating man. ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful telling of the life of the young Buffalo Bill Cody, both his adventures and his trials. It covers his growing up years around Leavenworth, Kansas and the border war that happened between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery peoples living in the area. He helped lead wagon trains out west, rode horses for the pony express, became a fur trader, and was a civil war soldier all before he was twenty. Buffalo Bill led a fuller life in his childhood than most people live as adults. A fascinatin ...more
Mrs. Scott
Fantastic. This slim middle-grade biography drew me right in with details of Billy Cody's (later, Buffalo Bill) adventurous life. Exceptional research, engaging writing, and thorough end notes... The book explores Bleeding Kansas, Civil War in Kansas and Missouri (bloody indeed), the Pony Express, Bill's success as a Union scout, soldier, and spy, and finally, his Wild West event that celebrated all things Western. At times, the book could benefit from the inclusion of more of Bill's own words ( ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • George Washington Carver
  • So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom
  • D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944 [The Young Readers Adaptation]
  • Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Black and white : the confrontation of Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor
  • Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution
  • Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin
  • Stolen into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northup, Free Black Man
  • Guts & Glory: The American Civil War
  • Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero
  • Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story
  • Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball
  • Superman Versus The Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
  • How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous
  • Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas
  • Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West
  • Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (A Big Words Book)
See similar books…