This week we read “Yummy: Story of a Southside Shorty” by G. Neri and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. It was a very interesting, true story that was visualized well. It was sad to see that a young eleven year old boy had no family besides his grandmother who had too many kids in her house to keep track of them all. He longed for a place to belong, and living in that neighborhood, he got involved with a gang. The gang put him to tests but told him they would be his “family” and would be there for him no matter what. Yummy got his name because he loved sweets and that became his street name. When he was proving himself to his crew, he was holding people up and just pulled the trigger and ended up hitting a 14 year old girl that lived just down the block from him. Her parents were inside and saw the whole thing. The entire neighborhood knew it was Yummy and wanted him to be punished for such a violent crime. So his “family” of gang members hid him in abandoned houses but Yummy knew the only safe place was with his grandmother. He called her but the gang came to pick him up before she could get there. They took him in a car ride to an abandoned shed and killed him because he was bringing too much attention to their gang.
After reading this graphic novel I realized that this stuff is real, maybe not in our rural small towns of 1,500 people but in the inner cities, this stuff is real. Little kids are getting wrapped up in some bad situations and getting awareness is important. I also think that this book is a great tool for those reluctant readers who want a true story with a lot of action. I think of this book being good for middle school age boys who are rough and into being active and not sitting down to read a book. This seems like the perfect ticket for them.
Our next graphic novel was Page by Paige. First of all, I love her name—Paige Turner and her parents are writers.
Paige is a young girl that seems to be trapped inside her own, blossoming mind. Her family just moved to Brooklyn from Virginia and she is having a hard time adjusting. On her first day of school she decides to make a change in her life; to live her life and take chances and quit being scared. She meets Jules (a very outgoing song writer and singer) and her brother Longo (an artist too) and the dreamy Gabe (a writer who ends up being her boyfriend). They all become great friends and they inspire each other be who they really are. Paige starts a sketch book when she moves to Brooklyn but shows her friends as part of opening up. They tell her to put it on the internet for all to see. It’s a scary step for her but she does it even when she gets negative comments about her work. Then she shows her mom (which is a huge step) and they begin an open communication relationship. Even though moving to this new place is scary, she finds the new Paige who was hiding under insecurities.—and she gets a cute boyfriend in the process!
I think that Page by Paige is a great book for middle school girls who are creative and need inspiration on a way to express that creativity. I really enjoyed going outside the box in reading the graphic novels this week. I think they would be a great tool for young readers.