By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780316043052, 288pp.)
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
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Ten-year-old Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn't make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy, the white plantation owner's son.
Sugar has always yearned to learn more about the world, and she sees her chance when Chinese workers are brought in to help harvest the cane. The older River Road folks feel threatened, but Sugar is fascinated. As she befriends young Beau and elder Master Liu, they introduce her to the traditions of their culture, and she, in turn, shares the ways of plantation life. Sugar soon realizes that she must be the one to bridge the cultural gap and bring the community together. Here is a story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.
From Jewell Parker Rhodes, the author of Ninth Ward (a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and a Today show Al's Book Club for Kids pick), here's another tale of a strong, spirited young girl who rises beyond her circumstances and inspires others to work toward a brighter future.
Jewell Parker Rhodes is the Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She has won numerous awards for her books for children and adults. Ninth Ward, her first novel for young readers, was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and a Today show Al's Book Club for Kids selection. You can visit Jewell online at www.jewellparkerrhodes.com
* "A magical story of hope."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Rhodes has created a remarkable protagonist as she artfully brings American history to life... this beautiful novel instantly grips readers' attention and emotions, holding them until the last word."—School Library Journal
"Sugar is superbly triumphant--both heroine and story. This glorious mainstay opens an underrepresented chapter in American history."—Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer, National Book Award Finalist, and recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, Scott O'Dell Award, and Newbery Honor
"Sugar is sweet. Sugar is sharp. Sugar is to be savored. Told through the sassy-gritty voice of a child, this novel brilliantly blends cultures and traditions not often seen together-that of former slaves and Chinese workers harvesting sugarcane during the aftermath of slavery. With nuanced storytelling, Jewell Parker Rhodes vividly portrays the brutality of the times, as well as the triumphs that arise when a community comes together. Those who read Sugar will be inspired to search deep within themselves to find the true meanings of friendship and freedom."
—Andrea Davis Pinkney, Coretta Scott King Award Winner & author of Bird in a Box