Saturday, March 12, 2016

YUMMY: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
I would like to thank Never Counted Out and e.E. Charlton-Trujillo for my copy of this book.  It was part of a generous donation to the students in my Michigan classroom.

Robert "Yummy" Sandifer is a real person.  He lived and died in Chicago.  He was pictured on Time magazine and his life was written about after he shot and killed a young girl in his Southside Chicago neighborhood.

Yummy was only eleven years old and referred to by gang members in his area as a "shorty."  At home with his grandmother he was viewed as a sweet boy.  He even slept with a teddy bear.  Yummy got his nickname because of his passion for candy. 

On the streets of his neighborhood, Yummy wasn't sweet and innocent.  Because of his small size, a first glance revealed a little kid hanging out on the street, but in actuality he was just as dangerous as the older gang members who ran the Southside.  Since "shorties" were considered two young to put in jail, gangs used them in their business.  Yummy was a favorite because he was willing to do anything to be accepted.  He robbed people, distributed drugs, and even carried a gun.  No matter the crime, the only thing shorties had to fear was a stint in juvie with their record being cleared when they hit eighteen.

Yummy's life changed one night when he shot at a rival gang member and hit and killed young Shavon Dean.  Now on the run, Yummy got help from some of the gang, but the neighborhood climate soon became too heated for even the fiercest gang members.  Yummy's would-be protectors sent two Disciples to pick him up.  Yummy was shot dead in a railroad tunnel. 

Author G. Neri and illustrator Randy DuBurke teamed up to create this powerful story.  Based on true events, the graphic novel narrates Yummy's tale through the eyes of Roger, a neighborhood friend of Yummy's.  The drawings add action to the stark tale and the insightful lesson to be learned about gang violence in today's society.

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