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Sugar Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316043052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316043052
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Through the sharp eyes of a 10-year-old, readers experience the hardship of life on a Louisiana sugar plantation after Emancipation. Clever, courageous, and perceptive, Sugar is basically an orphan. Her mother died, and her father was sold five years before the story begins. She lives alone next door to Mister and Missus Beale, who have become her surrogate parents. Sugar wonders why she still can't do what she wants and why she still must work and live under miserable conditions. When she becomes friendly with Billy Wills, the son of the plantation owner, she can't understand why their friendship must be secret. Her feistiness and sense of loyalty shine in the poignant scenes when she insists on being with Billy when he is sick. When Mr. Wills hires Chinese workers to fill the void left by former slaves going north, Sugar is fascinated by their ways and their stories. She loves the Br'er Rabbit trickster tales Mister Beale tells in which Rabbit outsmarts the seemingly more clever hyena. As in Ninth Ward (Little, Brown, 2010), Rhodes has created a remarkable protagonist as she artfully brings American history to life. She shines a light on bigotry and the difficulty former slave owners and former slaves had adjusting to "freedom," and her skillful prose creates vibrant images of the story's milieu. Above all, though, this beautiful novel instantly grips readers' attention and emotions, holding them until the last word.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Ten-year-old Sugar, named after the cane she sharecrops with other freed people, hates her name. It makes her think of her father being sold off into slavery, her mother who died from the hard work in the fields, and her own life of toil. She would rather be playing, but she is the last little one around after all the other young people left the plantation to live in the North. However, her own way of life is threatened once she learns through her verboten friendship with the plantation owner’s son that his father plans to bring in labor from China. Rhodes creates a unique cultural snapshot of Reconstruction Era Louisiana by introducing Chinese immigrants to the mix. Drawing inspiration from Lucy M. Cohen’s Chinese in the Post–Civil War South (1984), Rhodes creates a cross-cultural exchange that includes trickster tales, food appreciation, and good old-fashioned friendship. Sugar is an appealing, adventurous heroine full of curiosity and joy, an element sorely needed in light of the heavy subject. Grades 3-5. --Courtney Jones

More About the Author

http://www.jewellparkerrhodes.com
http://www.jewellparkerrhodes.com/children/

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the award-winning author of the historical novels, Voodoo Dreams, Magic City, Douglass' Women, and the contemporary voodoo-inspired trilogy, Season, Moon, Hurricane. She has also written a memoir, Porch Stories: A Grandmother's Guide to Happiness, two writing guides include: Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction, and children's novels Ninth Ward and Sugar.

Sugar, which debuted May 2013, was chosen as a Summer 2013 Kids' Indie Next List Selection, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has earned a Kirkus Starred Review.

Her work has been published in China, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and reproduced in audio and for NPR's "Selected Shorts." Her literary awards include: the American Book Award, the National Endowment of the Arts Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing, and two Arizona Book Awards. Ninth Ward, selected as one of the "Best Books of 2010" by School Library Journal, has received a Parents' Choice Foundation Gold Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, and the 2011 Jane Addams Peace Association Honor Award.

Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes is the Artistic Director and Piper Endowed Chair of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Bought this book from a book fair.
Amazon Customer
There is so much going on in this book that it would make a wonderful supplement to any lesson plan covering this period.
J. Prather
Literary, character-driven historical fiction that forces you to keep turning the pages.
A Playwright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Sugar tells the story of a 10 year old former slave working on a sugar cane plantation immediately following Emancipation. She is a fascinating character and the author captures both her voice and the period with unerring accuracy and authenticity. Sugar hates her name; in fact she hates anything to do with sugar. Cutting cane is hard work for anyone, and when you are 10 years old and find yourself all alone, it's hard to work every day when all you want to do is play. Even though Sugar is officially free, she doesn't feel free as she watches all of her friends travel "North" while she remains with all of the other older slaves on the plantation where she was born.

The only other young person on the plantation is the son of the owner, and Sugar is forbidden to play with him. When a group of Chinese men come to take the place of all of the slaves who have gone north to seek their fortunes, Sugar becomes aware of the big world that exists off the plantation. Sugar serves as a bridge between cultures and attitudes as the white men of the South struggle to adapt to change and the slaves struggle to adapt to the idea of true freedom and a larger world view.

There is so much going on in this book that it would make a wonderful supplement to any lesson plan covering this period. It looks at things from a different view. I have never read anything that featured the role of Chinese immigrants in the South's reconstruction for this age group.

I admired the author's inclusion of Bre'r Rabbit stories in this novel. I know what an important role story telling played in African American culture at this time, and the way she compares the Bre'r Rabbit stories to the dragon stories of the Chinese makes for some interesting parallels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Faith Waters on January 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved the book. My third grade daughter is very interesting in American history and, in particular, African American history. And until I came across this book, I didn't realize that all the books we'd read to date hadn't really incorporated any kind of African American voice or hadn't really followed the tradition of African American / African story telling like Nora Zeal Hurston or Toni Morrison or Alice Walker.

And this book, this author, brings that much needed voice and storytelling to this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hailey Laurenson on October 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
AMAZING
Best book ever. I love the main character. And all the other one s too. I loved it heh
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Great story about a little who loses a lot but also grow so much in her journey. Bought this book from a book fair. So glad I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Playwright on June 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
SUGAR is a great example of everything I look for in a middle grade novel. Literary, character-driven historical fiction that forces you to keep turning the pages.
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By Armada on March 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of my favorite historical fictions. It is lively and entertaining.Hope that everyone enjoys!Go on, jewell rhodes!i had lots of fun and surprises reading this book
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