Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty ePUB Ê

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty ePUB Ê This graphic novel will be great for classroom use, particularly as a companion to Our America by Jones and Newman and Monster by Myers I recommend it for boys and reluctant readers. The cheapest rents that I had in Philly were in some really gang infested neighborhoods It s hard to explain this to people in a place like Columbusthat in Philly, if you re freshly out of college and you work in nonprofit, education, or the arts, you probably live in a poor neighborhood of Latinos, blacks, Vietnamese, or Cambodians or choose another ethnic ghetto Though the gangs don t bother you usuallysome people get mugged, or have houses or cars burglarized their violence is omn The cheapest rents that I had in Philly were in some really gang infested neighborhoods It s hard to explain this to people in a place like Columbusthat in Philly, if you re freshly out of college and you work in nonprofit, education, or the arts, you probably live in a poor neighborhood of Latinos, blacks, Vietnamese, or Cambodians or choose another ethnic ghetto Though the gangs don t bother you usuallysome people get mugged, or have houses or cars burglarized their violence is omnipresent The week before we moved to Ohio, there was a double homicide on our block Two teenage boyseach killed by the posse of the other They were babies, and their families were crestfallen The older gang members who had initiated them into that life and subsequently condemned them to death looked on An old man on the block washed the blood from the sidewalk with a rubber pail I don t think I ll ever again see something so tragic My point is this Yummy s story is, in certain neighborhoods, sadly commonplace Even living in one of the most murderous cities in the country, I was nearly desensitized to it The best writing is that which reminds us that even common acts of violence are each as tragic as the next, that they happen to real people, and that every person involved is a victim Sometimes stories get to you this one left my stomach in knots After three days of reporting, I still couldn t decide which wasappalling the child s life or the child s death John Hull, TIME Magazine, Sept 1994 When true stories get turned into graphic novels for kids, they tend to take place in the distant past Books like James Sturm s Satchel Paige Striking Out Jim Crow, for example Contemporary stories, or tales that have taken place in the last 20 years, are few and far bet Sometimes stories get to you this one left my stomach in knots After three days of reporting, I still couldn t decide which wasappalling the child s life or the child s death John Hull, TIME Magazine, Sept 1994 When true stories get turned into graphic novels for kids, they tend to take place in the distant past Books like James Sturm s Satchel Paige Striking Out Jim Crow, for example Contemporary stories, or tales that have taken place in the last 20 years, are few and far between Picking up Yummy The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Greg Neri, I hoped against hope that the book in my hands would be appropriate for middle grade readers I love comics for kids, but there are really only so many tales involving kids finding magical distant lands that you can read before you want to pluck out your own eyeballs Yummy in contrast was something entirely new Gritty, real, willing to ask tough questions, and willing to trust that young readers will be able to reach their own conclusions The central question is this Can a child murderer be both victim and bully all at the same time Don t look for easy answers here Neri s not handing them out The real world facts are available Here s what we know That Robert Yummy Sandifer was eleven years old in 1994 when he went on the run after accidentally killing a neighbor girl Gang violence was at its peak in the Roseland area of Chicago, and in this book a fictional neighborhood boy watches what happens to Yummy and to his own brother, both members of the same gang The book asks hard questions as we watch Yummy s life and strange toughness, even as his story turns tragic An author s note and bibliography appear at the end Author Greg Neri first stepped onto the children s literary scene a couple years ago when he wrote Chess Rumble with illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson After that he went YA with Surf Mules, only coming back to the world of middle grade fiction with the publication of Yummy And it is middle grade, by the way I can already tell that the age range is going to be a big question with a lot of people As it happens, Mr Neri originally wrote Yummy s story as a film script, but held off on making it into a movie because he knew that the content would earn him an R rating And an R rating would keep the kids who most needed to hear this story from seeing it So a middle grade graphic novel it became instead The gun violence or really any violence that s in this book is always off screen so to speak And no one could read this book cover to cover and claim that it praises gangs or gang violence in any way, shape, or manner Most importantly, this is a story that needs to be told and it needs to be told to kids Hand it to teens all you want this would make a fantastic reluctant reader pick , but remember that there s going to be nine and ten year olds out there as well who are ready for what Mr Neri has to say You can have the nicest written graphic novel in the world, but unless you have a worthy artist to pair with the text, it s not worth much to anyone Enter Randy DuBurke DuBurke has done some children s books before, as it happens, but nothing so gritty A couple years ago he won the John Steptoe Award for best new talent for The Moon Ring Until now he s never really delved deeply into the graphic possibilities behind children s comics Aside from the odd Malcolm X biography his comic book work has usually been relegated to the D.C and Marvel side of things Now he s taken Neri s tale and created a book that feels both realistic and as beautifully stylized as any old noir Playing not just with expressions and characters but with light and shadow as well, it s DuBurke s choices that lift this book up and make it farcompelling than it would be merely on its own First and foremost, watch what DuBurke does with our narrator He s fictional, of course A composite of the children that would have lived through that time period So it was interesting to note that at the start, when Neri is talking about what Chicago is known for, DuBurke places the narrator in with the famous characters He s on the court with the Bulls, or arresting Al Capone, or singing a tune or two with Muddy Waters So basically right at the beginning DuBurke is making it clear to the reader that this kid, like all kids, has a connection and a part to play in the history of his city As for Yummy himself, there is one image of him that appears on everything from the cover of this book to just about the last page his mug shot Then there s DuBurke s use of light In a two panel section we see Yummy next to a tall tough looking dude The text mentions that Yummy was just four feet tall, and maybe 60 pounds heavy In the first panel he s looking up at the tall guy, eyes wide The second panel, however, the shadows have darkened around his eyes, and his mouth is set He s a whole different person Now look at the end of the book The harsh light of the streetlamps throws everyone s faces into white and black Eyes get hidden, bodies get eaten up in the shadows of leaves It s fantastic The whole book is a series of variegated contrasts, all black and white That s particularly ironic when you read the text and realize that the storyline is anything but black and white This is a book written in shades of gray Such shades of gray affect all aspects of the storytelling You read enough books like this and you begin to feel like they all hit the same beats So when Neri writes that Everyone had an opinion The news guys, the politicians, the police, the lawyers, and the professors, I expected to see a bunch of white people giving the same old, same old about gangs and violence Instead, Neri chooses to show sympathetic professionals who may not quite get it, but aren t pitted against Yummy either As one man says, This young kid fell through the cracks If this child was protected five years ago, you save two people You save the young woman who was killed and you save the young offender This was not what I expected to hear Refreshing doesn t even begin to describe it for me I felt some similarities in this book to The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon, particularly in terms of a younger brother seeing his older sibling making potentially dangerous choices outside the home Still and all, Monster by Walter Dean Myers is probably the closest equivalent to Yummy at this time But Monster was a study in unreliable narration and new style of prose,than anything else Yummy looks a little deeper what makes a human being good or bad Is it how they re raised Or how they live The choices they make As our hero says, I tried to figure out who the real Yummy was The one who stole my lunch money Or the one who smiled when I shared my candy with him I wondered if I grew up like him, would I have turned out the same That s a question any kid reading this book might ask themselves too We have so few serious graphic novel fiction titles asking kids tough questions like this I mean, walk over to a graphic novel section of any library or bookstore and find me the contemporary realistic fiction It s there, but hardly any of those books feature black characters, and the ones that do are historical I guess Yummy is historical too, but at this point in time no kid will notice What they ll find instead is a book that asks tough questions and comes to the conclusion that there aren t any easy answers Believe me, you ve nothing like this in your collection Better get it while you can For ages 10 and up This is the Wikipedia biography of Robert Yummy Sandifer, a shorty member of the Gangster Disciples gang in Chicago s Roseland neighborhood who in 1994, at the age of 11, ordered to take a hit for his gang, fired into a crowd in his neighborhood and killed 14 year old neighbor Shavon Dean With already many gang initiation felonies under his tiny belt, he himself was killed by his gang too much bad publicity He made the cover of Time magazine, became an international symbol of gang violence This is the Wikipedia biography of Robert Yummy Sandifer, a shorty member of the Gangster Disciples gang in Chicago s Roseland neighborhood who in 1994, at the age of 11, ordered to take a hit for his gang, fired into a crowd in his neighborhood and killed 14 year old neighbor Shavon Dean With already many gang initiation felonies under his tiny belt, he himself was killed by his gang too much bad publicity He made the cover of Time magazine, became an international symbol of gang violence at the time, though things are worse in Chicago now than they were then Neri is from LA, not Chicago, but he followed the story as we all did, sadly, wringing our hands as helplessly then as we do now re Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, Dallas, this week s gun violence tragedies His story is a kind of simple elegy, an inquiry into the whys and wherefores, and in his fiction he creates a range of answers from the neighborhood, primarily Neri doesn t romanticize the kid or try to explain his crimes away He does his research, he listens, and respectfully tells his tale through the voice of a fictional neighborhood kid who is not in a gang though his own brother is in the same gang.Yummy is reminiscent of Our America by LeAlan Jones, David Isay and Lloyd Newman, and Alex Kotlowitz s There Are No Children here, both also set in Chicago, tales of kids growing up in bad neighborhoods The artwork of Randy DuBurke is pretty strong in also telling the simple and hopelessly complex tale But without economic justice, without jobs, there are manystories like Yummy s told in Chicago s newspapers, and will be told in the future.Why Yummy Little Robert was a killer, but he was also just a kid that liked candy, so the nickname related to that He committed a number of felonies, but he also was allowed to carry his teddy bear to juvenile detention when he went there I know, it makes no sense It didn t then, it doesn t now.One reporter s view might just sum it up I don t know what is worse, his life or his death In August of ,year old Robert Yummy Sandifer nicknamed for his love of sweets fired a gun at a group of rival gangmembers, accidentally killing a neighborhood girl, Shavon Dean Police searched Chicago s southside for three days before finding Yummy dead in a railway tunnel, killed by members of the drug gang he d sought to impress The story made such an impact that Yummy appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, drawing national attention to the problems of inner city youth in AmericaMMY THE LAST DAYS OF A SOUTHSIDE SHORTY relives the confusion of these traumatic days from the point of view of Roger, a neighborhood boy who struggles to understand the senseless violence swirling through the streets around him Awakened by the tragedy, Roger seeks out answers to difficult questions Was Yummy a killer or a victim Was he responsible for his actions or are others to blame This was definitely an interesting graphic novel I didn t realize that it was based on a true story and it s sad but with everything that we having going on related to guns and violence I would definitely say that this book is important The only bad thing about it is the fact that I wantedinformation from the story It was a good start but it definitely could have been a little longer. This graphic novel tells the true story of Robert Yummy Sandifer In 1994, Yummy, called that because of his sweet tooth, fired a gun into a crowd of rival gang members He ended up killing a bystander, a teen girl Yummy was just 11 years old when this happened The story is told from the point of view of Roger, another boy who knew Yummy from school and the neighborhood Roger tries to make sense of Yummy and how he became a gang member and killer This is made eventangible to Roger be This graphic novel tells the true story of Robert Yummy Sandifer In 1994, Yummy, called that because of his sweet tooth, fired a gun into a crowd of rival gang members He ended up killing a bystander, a teen girl Yummy was just 11 years old when this happened The story is told from the point of view of Roger, another boy who knew Yummy from school and the neighborhood Roger tries to make sense of Yummy and how he became a gang member and killer This is made eventangible to Roger because his own brother is in the same gang as Yummy Throughout this book, deep questions are asked and explored.Neri s text creates a great platform to understand the gang wars of the 1990s and the dynamic of southside Chicago Though the bulk of the book is from Roger s point of view, the reader also gets to see what Yummy is going through as he hides from police and is eventually killed by his own gang There is a real restraint in the writing that allows the drama of the tale itself to take center stage DuBurke s illustrations done in black and white are a study in light and dark Faces change as the light changes on them, becoming sinister and strange The images are dynamic and underline the youth of Yummy and the transition from bully to killer A beautifully crafted graphic novel dealing in brutal subjects, this book is an important exploration of gang warfare It is also an evenimportant look at childhood Appropriate for ages 12 14 It is very ironic that the illustrations for this true crime story in a graphic novel format are black and white because there is nothing black and white about Yummy s, an 11 year old child murderer s, story G Neri doesn t take sides and he certainly does not hand out easy answers as he leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Yummy was a villain or a victim, or both.But although Yummy tells an important and heartbreaking cautionary tale about child abuse, neglect and gang violence, it off It is very ironic that the illustrations for this true crime story in a graphic novel format are black and white because there is nothing black and white about Yummy s, an 11 year old child murderer s, story G Neri doesn t take sides and he certainly does not hand out easy answers as he leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Yummy was a villain or a victim, or both.But although Yummy tells an important and heartbreaking cautionary tale about child abuse, neglect and gang violence, it offers littlethan what I gathered from the original cover story published in the September 19, 1994 edition of Time Magazine It is not necessarily a bad thing, as this graphic novel is definitelyaccessible and attractive to younger readers than a magazine article, but I personally hoped for something extra.Also, although DuBurke expertly manipulates light and shadow to convey complex emotions in his illustrations for Yummy, occasionally I was frustrated with his artwork because it was hard to decipher what is going on or who is who But I am also not a big fan of black and white illustrations in graphic novels in general, so please don t take my word for granted 4.25 An interesting and tragic story I enjoyed how the author tried to show many different sides of an event that was so polarizing I wish it had been a littlein depth and slightlyraw, but based on the intended audience it is certainly understandable that it was pretty basic. dope powerful visual

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