This is the sad, true story of an abbreviated life. Robert “Yummy” Sandifer grew up—if that’s what you can call it when you die at 11—on Chicago’s South Side. Abused and abandoned, he was an angry kid, and he shared that anger unreservedly. But Yummy packed a teddy bear as well as a gun, and G. Neri plants him squarely in ambiguity. Victim or criminal? Fact is, he was both. Another fact—he killed a young girl during a shooting spree to impress the older members of his gang. “Both politicians and media were having a field day sensationalizing this tragedy,” says Neri. “But the truth was hard to find amongst the rhetoric.” Randy DuBurke’s artwork is shadowy and ominous, Yummy’s chaotic, emotionally discombobulated life tumbling from panel to panel. With this graphic form, Neri hopes to “[show] these harsh realities to urban boys who don’t read, before they get sucked into gangs.”
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Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
G. NeriI; illus. by Randy DuBurke
Lee & Low / August / 9781584302674 / $16.95 / ages 11 & up