LEE & 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 Title: Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
Author: G. Neri
Illustrator: Randy DuBurke
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 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 Honor, American Library Association
- Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, American Library Association
- Best Books, Kirkus Reviews
- Editor’s Choice, Booklist
- Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
- Starred Review, Booklist
- Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, American Library Association
- Notable Books for a Global Society, International Reading Association
- 100 Magnificent Children’s Books, Fuse #8 Production, School Library Journal
- Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly
- Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Cybils Award Winner – Graphic Novel Category, The Cybils
- Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award Program, Indiana Library Federation
- Glyph Award Nominee
- Highlighted Review, VOYA
- Louisiana Teen Readers’ Choice Title List, State Library of Louisiana
- Maverick Graphic Novel List, Texas Library Association
- Nomination, Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
- Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award, The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance Library and Archives
- Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, American Library Association
- Starred Review, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
- Storytelling World Honor Award, Storytelling World
- Street Lit Book Award, Emerging Classic Winner, Street Lit Book Award Medal Committee
- Ten Best Nexus Graphic Books, The SF Site
- Top 10 List, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers, YALSA
- Top Ten Great Graphic Novels, Booklist
- Virginia Readers’ Choice, Virginia State Reading Association
Resources for teaching with Yummy:
- Teacher’s guide from Lee & Low
- Discussion guide from the Coretta Scott King committee
- Read “Murder in Miniature,” the original Time Magazine article on Yummy’s life and death
Book Collections Featuring Yummy:
- Nonfiction Collection Middle School
- Nonfiction Collection High School
- Realistic Fiction Middle School
- Realistic Fiction High School
- Lee & Low Publisher Jason Low talks about how he went from comic fan to children’s publisher
- Author G. Neri visits a New York City middle school and talks about inspiring the next generation of writers
- Watch the book trailer for Yummy
Have you used Yummy? Let us know in the comments!
Celebrate with us! Check out the Lee & Low 25 Years Anniversary Collection.