Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yummy by G. Neri

Subtitled The Last Days of a Southside Shorty.
Illustrated by Randy DuBurke.
Published in 2010. 96 pages.
2010 Cybils Award Winner.

Summary from the author's website:

In August of 1994, 11-year-old Robert “Yummy” Sandifer—nicknamed for his love of sweets—fired a gun at a group of rival gangmembers, accidentally killing a neighborhood girl, Shavon Dean. Police searched Chicago’s southside for three days before finding Yummy dead in a railway tunnel, killed by members of the drug gang he’d sought to impress. The story made such an impact that Yummy appeared on the cover of Time magazine, drawing national attention to the problems of inner city youth in America.
Neri also talks about "How Yummy Came About." He concludes:
My hope is that Yummy will find its way into classrooms, libraries and into the hands of reluctant readers. This is a story that needs to be talked about and I hope that Yummy is just the starting point for a deeper, more meaningful discussion with young people all over this country.
Conclusion from the Cybils website:
Although you know the ending of the book from the beginning, Neri still packs a punch that leaves the reader thinking for days, once the book has been put down. Yummy is a historical story with a timeless sensibility that will take your breath away.
By the way, Yummy was nominated by fellow Utah book blogger Natasha of Maw Books Blog.

My personal response: Heart-breaking and thought-provoking, with a great message for young people, especially those in high-risk situations. Definitely worth a read!


Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick

Published in 2007. 534 pages.
2008 Caldecott Medal Winner.
2007 National Book Award Finalist.

I was blown away by this fabulous book, which was April's pick for my long-term book club and one of Holly's "list swap" books for me.

So unique! Gorgeous drawings that don't just illustrate the story but are in integral part of it. A touching story of two children. A tribute to early French filmmaker Georges Méliès. A statement of a profound life philosophy. All that in just one (albeit hefty) book!

"Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?" [Hugo] asked Isabelle. "They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or to tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton. Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do."

Isabelle picked up the mouse, wound it again, and set it down.

"Maybe it's the same with people," Hugo continued. "If you lose your purpose ... it's like you're broken."

At 5 Minutes for Books, Dawn said, "There is a magical feeling that the characters are actually moving around among these pages." At onemorechapter, 3m said, "Absolutely wonderful. I cannot recommend this highly enough."

The book's website is here. The Wikipedia entry about Georges Méliès is here. The IMDb entry about the forthcoming film version is here.