Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

In September, 1994 Robert "Yummy" Sandifer appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He was only 11 years old and lived in Chicago. Why would such a young boy, who loved anything sweet, be on the cover of a national publication? Yummy was a gang called the Black Disciples -- he had killed a 14 year old girl!

This award-winning graphic novel looks at Yummy's life and death. He went into hiding after killing Shavon Dean. The Disciples became tired of the publicity surrounding Yummy and finally killed him. How can an 11 year old be caught up in such violence? Was Yummy a cold-blooded killer or was he a victim? Ultimately he didn't make good decisions. Read the book by G. Neri and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bite of the Mango

This heart-breaking true story is co-authored by Mariatu Kamara with Susan McClelland. Mariatu is 12 years old when the story begins. She lives with her extended family in a small village in Sierra Leone. Civil War breaks out in the country. Bands of rebel soldiers wander the countryside terrorizing and killing. The inevitable happens. The soldiers capture Mariatu.

The horrors this young girl sees are unforgettable. This chapter of the book was especially hard to read....I had to put it down several times. Mariatu survives the rebel attack, but the soldiers - some younger than Mariatu herself - take a machete and chop off both of her hands! Can you imagine?

This isn't the end of Mariatu's suffering. You'll have to read the book to get the entire story. She is a survivor -- that much I will say.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Stitches: A Memoir

David Small wrote this National Book Award Finalist about his childhood and teenage years. He is best known for his picture book illustrations.....this book is in the graphic novel format.

David grew up in a very dysfunctional home. He had many sinus infections as a young boy. His father, a doctor, used x-rays to monitor his condition. Those x-rays ended up giving David cancer. At 14 David had, what was supposed to be a minor surgery. It ended up being several surgeries....and his vocal cords were removed. David was virtually speechless!! I haven't even talked about his mother yet.....

Read the book. It is tragic, disturbing...and a compelling read!