Playground by 50 Cent
We meet Butterball on therapist Liz’s couch. This is his punishment for beating up his best friend on the playground at school. Butterball (Burton) is an angry young man after his parents split up and he is forced to live with his mom and her new friend. Butterball refuses to tell Liz why he mauled his friend. As he evades her questions, Butterball takes readers on a journey through the moments that made him into the playground bully he is today. Butterball is also an artist. Illustrator Lizzie Akana’s pen and ink drawings express Butterball’s view of his world. The drawings highlight pivotal moments in Butterball’s story. Liz sees a brighter side of Butterball when he talks about art and making movies. 50 Cent’s voice-driven prose allows a reader to see the beginnings of a bully and the wrong choices that Butterball makes to end up on the therapist’s couch. 50 Cent’s frank portrayal of a young bully will spark intense discussion. A great read for high school students on both sides of the bullying fence, this story will appeal to a wide range of readers. Playground is a graphic story with a great moral.
Youth Services Specialist