Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

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9781606869390: Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

A graphic novel based on the life and death of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, an eleven-year-old gang member from Chicago's Southside who was killed by his own gang members.

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About the Author:

G. NERI is an award-winning filmmaker and new media producer from Los Angeles, where he also taught animation and storytelling to inner-city youth. Now living in Tampa, Florida, with his wife and their daughter, Neri writes for teens and younger children. Most recently, he received the 2010 Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award from the International Reading Association (IRA).RANDY DUBURKE received the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent in Illustration for his first book, The Moon Ring. He is a full-time artist whose work has also appeared in D.C. and Marvel comics, The New York Times Book Review, and Mad magazine. A native of Brooklyn, New York, DuBurke now lives in Switzerland with his wife and their two sons.

Review:

A haunting, ripped-from-the-headlines account of youth gang violence in Chicago provides the backdrop for a crucial mediation on right and wrong. The fictional Roger, Neri's protagonist and moral compass, revisits the cautionary tale of classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, an 11-year-old shorty with a sweet tooth, in this dramatic re-creation of his brief life. During the sweltering summer of 1994, Yummy's gang initiation goes horribly awry: A bullet intended for rival gangsters accidentally cuts down Shavon Dean, 14, a former childhood playmate. As the nation from Time magazine to then-President Clinton reels with shock, Yummy goes into hiding, setting the stage for Roger to investigate the "Little Killer's" beginnings before the summer, and Yummy's life, comes to a grisly end. DuBurke's raw illustrations evoke the heightened emotions of the time. The artist adeptly balances the contradictions of Yummy's life, as scenes of exaggerated violence (torching cars and looting stores) slowly dissolve into typical childhood vignettes (pet frogs and beloved teddy bears). A much-needed look at the terrifying perils of life on the margins that will have all readers pondering the heady question of moral responsibility. --Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*

What do you call an eleven-year-old gang assassin? A predator or a victim? In this graphic novel Neri reconstructs the events surrounding the brief life of Robert "Yummy"; Sandifer, a neglected and abused Chicago child who, after committing a string of felonies in 1994, shot teen bystander Shavon Dean, dodged the police for several days, and was ultimately executed by members of his own gang, the Black Disciples. Yummy's story, which became a national media flashpoint, may seem like ancient history to prospective readers born years after the murders, and the veneer of fiction supplied her (fictional Roseland resident Roger, also age eleven, tells about the neighborhood incident and worries about his own older brother, who is a known gang member) has the look of edgy urban lit. But author's notes and an appended bibliography (with the cited Time article "Crime: Murder in Miniature" readily available online) assure readers this is the real deal. Comics illustrator DuBurke's gritty black-and-white artwork employs foreshortened backgrounds to bring the action right up in the reader's face, whether it's talking heads calmly discussing their theories on Yummy's disordered personality, families in mourning, or a semiautomatic pointed directly out of the frame. Call it historical fiction to be technically correct, but for kids who still grow up believing that "you make it past 19 these days, you a senior citizen around here," it's heartbreakingly contemporary. --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, *starred review*

Told in stark panels of black and white, this stunning graphic novel tells the tragedy of Yummy but also indicts a society where there is only an outcry against the endless cycle of violence when one particular horrific incident captures the imagination of the community. The powerful artwork, full of shadows and deep contrast, emphasizes this terrible story of wasted childhood and senseless murder. The narrative, simply told and conveying a young boy's anguish, complements the artwork perfectly. Teens who enjoy standalone graphic novels will be drawn to the compelling story and art, and moved by the tragic unfolding of events. This novel would also be an excellent resource for a classroom discussion on gang violence. --VOYA, *highlighted review*

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Greg Neri
Published by Perfection Learning (2010)
ISBN 10: 1606869396 ISBN 13: 9781606869390
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Neri, Greg
Published by Perfection Learning (2010)
ISBN 10: 1606869396 ISBN 13: 9781606869390
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Book Description Perfection Learning, 2010. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111606869396

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