Monday, September 13, 2010

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke

An eleven-year-old puts in work to join a gang. Something (his aim?) goes horribly wrong and he accidentally shoots and kills a fourteen-year old girl. He goes into hiding... what happens next? If the suspense is killing you (no pun intended), you might be interested to know that this is a true story, told with the facts by a fictional narrator invented by artist Greg Neri (Yes, that author of Chess Rumble who visited Bridges during a library program several years ago) in a graphic novel. High-contrast illustrations are effectively executed by Randy DuBurke. (Yes, that illustrator of A Graphic Biography of Malcolm X, the author of which visited Boys Town several years ago.) This cautionary tale is woven for middle-schoolers and gets at an issue that is, for better or worse, frequently the elephant in the room in many Passages classrooms and libraries-- gang violence and the innocent victims affected. There are plenty of other meaningful discussion topics broached by Yummy, but I truly don't want to ruin this fast read for you. Suffice it to say I am recommending it to everyone, adults who teach middle-schoolers and the middle-schoolers themselves, because a book like this doesn't come along very often. So exceptional that an exception to our review policy had to be made-- it's a must-read. Even for those of you who have confided to me that you're not partial to graphic novels. Coming soon to a Passages Academy Library near you! Click here for a book trailer with a beat, discussion questions, and an interview with the authors to get a taste.

Neri, G., and Randy DuBurke. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. New York: Lee & Low, 2010.

1 comment:

Morgan said...

Like a good librarian, Ms. Fenster-Sparber was there! Per her recommendation, a 15-year-old male student at Bridges began reading "Yummy" during the independent reading portion of my class period. For the next three days could not put the book down! His praise will be far more effective, so I will share them now:

I read Yummy and Yummy shows me that you can't make it nowhere in life for being a thug or a gangster. Also that life is too short. And how your own mans could take your life away from you. It show me how life is type hard. I recommend this book to a boy that would like to read about an urban book that really happen in real life. I also read this book in two days. That's how good it is.

Having read the book myself, I, too would recommend to other reluctant readers. Not ordinarily a fan of graphic novels, I was easily swept up in the words of G.Neri and illustrations of Randy DuBurke. Other resisters to graphic novels: give "Yummy" a chance, you won't regret it!