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.