Author: Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
AR Levels: Book Level - 2.9; Interest Level - 4th-8th grades; Points: 4.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15790805-sugar
In a nutshell: Ten-year-old orphan Sugar lives and works on a Louisiana River Road sugar cane plantation in the years following the Civil War. She's no longer a slave, but little about her life has changed, and she longs to leave the only home she's ever known to explore the world. However, when Sugar befriends the white plantation owner's son, Billy, and the Chinese men hired to help harvest this year's sugar crop, everything will change, and Sugar will feel like the world is at her doorstep.
I'd recommend it to grades: 3 to 6
I'd recommend it to: historical fiction fans or anyone who enjoys a story that will warm your heart
What I liked most about this book: I loved Ninth Ward, and after reading this one, I am officially a Jewell Parker Rhodes fan. You fall in love with Sugar from the first chapter. She's funny and playful with an incredible streak of bravery and adventure. The book also captures an interesting tidbit of history by featuring Chinese workers in the post-Civil War South. It was something I knew little about, and it makes for a fascinating blend of three cultures living side-by-side and learning to adapt to a changing way of life.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Sugar and Billy spend an afternoon floating down the Mississippi River on a raft pretending to be pirates. I confess...I have always wanted to do that, and it's a sweet picture of how imagination unites us all no matter our skin color.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars