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Yummy

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By VOYA

This graphic novel is based on the heartbreaking true story of lives wasted in Southside Chicago during a gang-related slaying in 1994. Robert “Yummy” Sandifer is just eleven when he shoots and kills an innocent bystander during a territorial gang dispute. His story is told by a fictional classmate, Roger, who is trying to make sense of what happened. Yummy’s childhood is an all-too-common story of parental neglect and abuse. The only family he knows is his gang, The Black Disciples, and he will do anything they ask of him. Yummy still clings to vestiges of his childhood, particularly his beloved teddy bear, but this child also carries a gun for a ruthless gang, which in turn will sacrifice him when the public outcry becomes too great. Told in stark panels of black and white, this stunning graphic novel tells the tragedy of Yummy but also indicts a society where there is only an outcry against the endless cycle of violence when one particular horrific incident captures the imagination of the community.

The powerful artwork, full of shadows and deep contrast, emphasizes this terrible story of wasted childhood and senseless murder. The narrative, simply told and conveying a young boy’s anguish, complements the artwork perfectly. Teens who enjoy standalone graphic novels will be drawn to the compelling story and art, and moved by the tragic unfolding of events. This novel would also be an excellent resource for a classroom discussion on gang violence.