As a child, I was always fascinated by stories that introduced me to life in a different time period, and I still am. I found out about this book through a post on From the Mixed Up Files, a great place for learning about writing and reading books for middle grade readers. The version I read was an e-book from my local library.
Today’s Pick: Sugar
by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Little Brown and Company, 2013
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.
I enjoyed the poetic language in this book. It’s another example of a story with a great voice.
“Everybody likes sugar. Folks say, “There wouldn’t be any good food without sugar.”
“I run past the cane fields, then up the grassy knoll where the big house sits to keep dry when the river overflows.”
“Even though the day is bright, worry and fear are striking like invisible lightning and silent thunderbolts.”
“It’s exciting, making new friends.”
Jewell Parker Rhodes lives in Pennsylvania, where she teaches creative writing.
Her first novel for children, Ninth Ward, was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and was featured as a Today show Al's Book Club for Kids selection.
Sugar was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Here’s what Jewell Parker Rhodes says about writing historical fiction for children: “While teaching historical facts is important, fictional techniques allow readers to empathize with characters and feel, sense the events via concrete details.”
Other Children’s Books by this Author:
For more, visit Jewell Parker Rhodes at her website for children’s books.