Celebrating 25 Books Over 25 Years: Yummy

Lee and Low 25th anniversaryLEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today. Today, we are featuring our award-winning graphic novel, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty.

Featured TitleYummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Author: G. Neri

Illustrator: Randy DuBurke

SynopsisyummyEleven-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 Roger’s older brother belongs to?

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is a compelling 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.

Yummy is a great way to get reluctant readers interested in books. In an interview with author G. Neri, he says:

[T]his may not be a story for everyone, but urban kids who deal with this kind of thing in their lives can definitely handle this at a young age—even some grade schoolers (but mostly middle school). For more suburban kids, especially white kids, they might be older but I think the story will enlighten them as to what is going on in this world that they may not know about. Issues with gangs may not be as black and white as they hear about. And I believe it will work well with high schoolers too.

Awards and Honors: 

  • Coretta Scott King Author Award HonorAmerican Library Association
  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult ReadersAmerican Library Association
  • Best BooksKirkus Reviews
  • Editor’s ChoiceBooklist
  • Starred ReviewKirkus Reviews
  • Starred ReviewBooklist
  • Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for TeensAmerican Library Association
  • Notable Books for a Global SocietyInternational Reading Association
  • 100 Magnificent Children’s BooksFuse #8 Production, School Library Journal
  • Best Books of the YearPublishers Weekly
  • ChoicesCooperative Children’s Book Center
  • Cybils Award Winner – Graphic Novel CategoryThe Cybils
  • Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award ProgramIndiana Library Federation
  • Glyph Award Nominee
  • Highlighted ReviewVOYA
  • Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Title ListState Library of Louisiana 
  • Maverick Graphic Novel ListTexas Library Association
  • NominationWill Eisner Comic Industry Awards
  • Once Upon a World Children’s Book AwardThe Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance Library and Archives
  • Popular Paperbacks for Young  AdultsAmerican Library Association
  • Starred ReviewBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • Storytelling World Honor AwardStorytelling World
  • Street Lit Book Award, Emerging Classic WinnerStreet Lit Book Award Medal Committee
  • Ten Best Nexus Graphic BooksThe SF Site
  • Top 10 List, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young ReadersYALSA
  • Top Ten Great Graphic NovelsBooklist
  • Virginia Readers’ ChoiceVirginia State Reading Association

Resources for teaching with Yummy:

Book Collections Featuring Yummy:

Further Reading

Have you used Yummy? Let us know in the comments!

Celebrate with us! Check out the Lee & Low 25 Years Anniversary Collection.