Reviewed by Lyn Miller Lachman
We think of war as happening to children in other places. In doing so, we fail to think about young people in the United States whose everyday lives mirror the lives of young people in the world’s combat zones. For children who experience severe bullying because of their alleged sexual orientation, appearance, cognitive and behavioral differences, social class, or other reasons, school is itself a combat zone. Children of undocumented immigrants, who live in the shadows vulnerable to exploitation and capture, grow up in a climate of fear that resembles a war zone. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, and lack of medical care steal the childhoods of many of our young people.
And then there are gangs. Why children join and what happens to them when they do is the subject of G. Neri’s graphic novel Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, illustrated by Randy DuBurke and published by Lee & Low in 2010. Continue reading.
Yummy by Greg Neri
Published by Lee & Low Books on 2010
Genres: Criminal Justice, Graphic Novels and Comics, OwnVoices, Teen Years
Reading Level: Grades 6-8, High School
Review Source: Pirate Tree
Publisher's synopsis: Eleven-year old Roger is trying to make sense of his classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's death, but first he has to make sense of Yummy's life. Yummy could be as tough as a pit bull sometimes. Other times he was as sweet as the sugary treats he loved to eat. Was Yummy some sort of monster, or just another kid? As Roger searches for the truth, he finds more and more questions. How did Yummy end up in so much trouble? Did he really kill someone? And why do all the answers seem to lead back to a gang-the same gang to which Roger's older brother belongs? Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is a compelling graphic dramatization based on events that occurred in Chicago in 1994. This gritty exploration of youth gang life will force readers to question their own understandings of good and bad, right and wrong.