Review: Award-Winning Sugar Explores Girl’s Life After Slavery

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For 10-year-old Sugar, freedom isn’t what she expected it to be. She happens to live on a sugar plantation and, even though slavery has ended, she must work in the sugar cane fields to earn money. She doesn’t even have an actual bed, let alone a real house to live in.

Sugar, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. I think this book deserves the award!  I loved this book because it was really nail biting, and my heart was pounding for a lot of it, it was also really sad and heartwarming, all in one book. Right when I read the first page I was hooked, and I couldn’t stop reading it. I finished the book in a day!

Sugar is an orphan raised by Mister and Missus Beale. Her Pa was sold to a different plantation many years ago, and her Ma died before Sugar got a chance to ask her the meaning behind her name.

All Sugar wants to do is play with the plantation owner’s son, Billy, and befriend the new Chinese workers, who taught her how to write her name in Chinese. But not many people agree different races/ethnicities should be friends, especially not Mister Tom, the overseer who hates Sugar to the bone.

Soon, Sugar and many others will learn that you should never judge a book by its cover, and that everyone is created equal.

I recommend this book to readers grades five to seven. It’s complex, and younger kids may not understand the book because it discusses topics like discrimination and slavery. There are violent scenes in the book. Anyone who loves strong heroines and historical fiction will love this book.

This book was AWESOME!!! It gets 4 out of 4 roses!

One comment

  1. Elena, I also really enjoy historical fiction and reading the stories of enslaved people. Question- did this book explain why AFTER emancipation so many formerly enslaved people stayed and worked on the plantations?


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