Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

on January 23, 2011

A couple years ago, I received a BECU School Grant for the Poetry Workshop at Denney Juvenile Justice Center.  As a part of the grant, we were able to purchase YA books written in verse for the youth. One of the books we purchased was G. Neri’s book,  Chess Rumble.

When the ALA Awards were announced a few weeks ago, I was happy to see G. Neri’s newest book, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, receive quite a few awards including: The 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, an ALA 2011 Notable Book, a 2011 Great Graphic Novel for Teens, and a YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is a graphic novel based on the true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer who was born in 1983 and lived in the Roseland area of Chicago. “Yummy” was eleven years old in 1994 when he went on the run after accidentally killing a neighborhood girl. In the story, a fictional neighborhood boy named Roger tells the story of how Yummy shots a neighborhood girl, and then goes on the run. In the story, Roger’s brother belongs to the same gang as Yummy.

There are no easy answers in this story as “Yummy” is shot and killed by his own gang members when too much attention is drawn to their gang after his accidental shooting of the girl.

However, what I liked best in the story is how  Roger tries to understand who was Yummy. In the story, Roger tells the reader that Yummy’s Dad was in prison, and his Mom was arrested 41 times for drugs and prostitution until finally, Yummy was taken away to live with his Grandmother. Roger shares how Yummy stole, how he took people’s lunch money, how he ended up being placed in special homes, but he’d always escape and go back to his Grandma’s.  But Roger also tells us that Yummy had a teddy bear he sometimes carried around, and a pet frog that he showed him , and says, “Sometimes he was more kid than thug.”

And I think that’s what I always feel when I am working with the youth in detention. Sometimes, they are more “kid than thug.”

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2 responses to “Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

  1. Ann Teplick says:

    Another great post, Mindy! What I love about this blog is that it is bite sized and super informative. Thank you for passing on wonderful resources!

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