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.
* "Heartbreak and hope are reflected in Lanesha's story, which will capture even reluctant readers due to the inventive storytelling and the author's ability to bring history to life." --- School Library Journal, starred review
* "With a mix of magical and gritty realism...the spare but vivid prose, lilting dialogue, and skilled storytelling brings this tragedy to life; the powerful sense of community Rhodes evokes in the Ninth Ward prior to the storm makes the devastation and the hardships Lanesha endures all the more powerful." --- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"An enjoyable, satisfying novel about the magical spirit of a young girl navigating her way through an American tragedy." --- Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1963 and Bud, Not Buddy
* "A magical story of hope."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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.