Rebecca Binks's Reviews > Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science

Sugar Changed the World by Marc Aronson
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May 12, 12


This well-crafted book about the history of sugar uses a blended-narrative from of non-fiction to tell its tale. Considering that today we only look at sugar within the framework of our war on waistlines, this book provides a detailed and compelling look at the rich story of sugar and how it has shaped world history as well as the histories of the authors’ families. From religious ceremonies in India through the slave-trade in America, sugar has played a central role. Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha (truth with firmness) originated when sugar workers in India began to demand their rights.

The book’s well-researched narrative is supported with oral histories, maps, historical illustrations. There is a timeline in the back of the history of sugar that could be used to supplement any world history class. The authors even include an essay on how they researched the book for teachers and librarians.

I found the layout to be clean and engaging. The only disappointment was that I found that the inclusion of the word science in the title was a stretch. Science was only tangentially referenced in terms of the process of amking sugar out of sugar cane or beets.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Casey (new)

Casey Strauss This sounds like such an interesting book! How do you think it could be incorporated in the classroom?


message 2: by 529_Gary (new)

529_Gary It's good to know that this book is told more from a historical perspective, rather than a scientific one. This book would be good to use on a unit about find out about common everyday things that we use.


message 3: by 529_Amalia (new) - added it

529_Amalia Sounds interesting. Now that I have already read one of Marc Aronson’s books, I am definitely adding it to my "to-read" list.


message 4: by A_Olga (new)

A_Olga This book reminds me of Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart as they defied the norms pressed upon the women of their day. Their love for what they believed in paved the way for women everywhere. In Wheels of Change we see the same type of determination set by women who refused to stay silent. Through photographs the author uses literary artistry to relay facts to the reader. Seems like a great book to use during Women's History Month.


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