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4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,362 Ratings  ·  254 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Feb 28, 2017 QNPoohBear rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Sugar and her Mama were slaves on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana. Now slavery has over and Mama is dead but nothing else has changed. Sugar, a ten-year-old girl, works long, hard hours for most of the year planting and harvesting sugarcane. She longs for love and friendship and can't stand the sweet taste of sugar. Her other friends have been sold or moved on so she is the only child. While she enjoys the comfort and stories of Mister Beale, she longs for more. Then her life change
Alex Baugh
Oct 10, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Sugar is 10, an orphan and although she is not longer a slave, she sure doesn't feel free. She has lived on the River Road plantation where they grow sugar cane in Louisiana her whole life, but she really just wants to go north and see what the world is about.

It is 1870 and reconstruction is in full swing and things are changing, or so says Mr. Wills, owner of the plantation. Sugar is secretly friends with his son, Billy, who tells her that his father has now hired some Chinese men to come and w
This is the life of a girl named Sugar. She is an orphan living on a sugar cane farm in the south right after slaves became free. Good story!
Oct 03, 2016 Hannah rated it it was amazing
This book was a beautiful blend of happiness, friendship, unfairness, and despair. Sugar was a very complex character, adventurous, sassy, stubborn and friendly. I felt joyful at most times reading the book, but I also had sympathy for Sugar, as both of her parents are dead when she is only ten. This was a wonderful read, and I recommend it to anyone waiting to learn about life back in the 1800s.
This is a touching story about the intersection of the lives of blacks, whites and Chinese on a Louisiana plantation in the latter half of the 1800s. Though slavery is outlawed, the labor, the prejudice, and the mistreatment haven't changed. But times are changing, and this book really highlights that people are people, regardless of color. I didn't even know there were Chinese workers brought over to work on plantations in the south in the 1800s! I had heard about Chinese workers on the railroa ...more
Valerie Lurquin
Apr 20, 2015 Valerie Lurquin rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
This book is well deserving of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. It is a beautifully written story about the survival of slaves, once slavery has been abolished, on a Sugar Cane plantation on the banks of the Mississippi. Sugar, a ten year old, living on the planation works hard in the fields all day, even though she is “free”. She ends up making friends with a boy named Billy, whom is forbidden to be friends with Sugar because he is the white planation owner’s son. The only part I did not ...more
Bryanna Johnson
Feb 09, 2015 Bryanna Johnson rated it liked it
This book follows a young 10 year old girl on her time growing up in the time of slavery. The 10 year old girl's name is sugar, however she hates her name because she hates sugar and the hard work that goes into harvesting it. She is an orphaned child when her mother dies and her father is sold into slavery. She continues to live out her days under the care of chinese immigrant workers, who took over the labor of the freed african american slaves. In the story Sugar befriends the son of the plan ...more
Sherry Philippus
I enjoyed this book more than a three-star rating might indicate. Historical fiction is my favorite genre because I often discover something new, or just learn a little more about some obscure historical I did in this book. How interesting to learn of the capture and import of Chinese workers after Emancipation...who knew! Sugar is likable, although she does get on my nerves occasionally, and some of the supporting characters are interestingly developed, like Billy. But too many plot ...more
Amy Rae
Jan 13, 2014 Amy Rae rated it really liked it
This book is a must-read if only for the fact that it sheds light on a little-discussed event in American history: How white plantation owners in the Deep South hired Chinese immigrants in the wake of the Civil War. I had no idea this was something that happened, but Jewell Parker Rhodes breathes new life into this forgotten history. She imagines cultural exchanges that are both fascinating and inspiring to read about.

After that, you should be reading this book for its spirited, incredibly lovab
Jun 28, 2015 Ramona rated it it was amazing
Hi! I am 8 years old, and this is the best book that I have read in my whole life! Something about this book, just makes you feel how they treated people that were a different color back then. When I first read this book, I thought that the ending would be sad. But, as I got more and more into the book I learned how much feeling was in the book. I would recommend this book to somebody who likes, drama with a little bit of happy. I was up at 11 o'clock at night reading this book! The more and mor ...more
May 09, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it
This was an honest, sweet story about a young girl surviving on a sugar plantation just after the Civil War. Slavery is no more, but Sugar's life isn't much better than when she was a slave--she still cuts cane all day, lives in a shack, and isn't allowed to play with her best friend Billy, who happens to be the plantation owner's son. The relationships between the former slaves, the new Chinese workers , and the white owner's family grow and change as Sugar tells her story, and it's a beautiful ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Lucienne rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually the kind of person to say omg, but... oh... my... god! I had never heard of Jewell Parker Rhodes, but now she's one of my favorite authors. I simply have to read more! Sugar was a very believable character, and I the friendship between Billy and Sugar was simply adorable. Overall, a terrific book that I will reread. At some point. After I read all of Jewell Parker Rhodes other books.
Jan 23, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it
I love this book because of how it gives an insight into post slavery and how it shows that not every white person was unkind and evil. I love the inside stories about Billy and Sugar and the Chinese and Africans becoming friends. I just wish that the fire had never happened so that everyone would continue living together. A sequel to this book about how Sugar had grown up and maybe later finding Billy and Biue would be the best thing ever.
Ten year old Sugar lives on the sugar cane plantation in the years following the end of the Civil War. She's free, but that doesn't mean she can play and run free like the white children. She's a worker just like the adults, planting, weeding and cutting the sugar cane. When the owner of the plantation brings in some Chinese workers, sugar finds herself in the middle of the worker racial divide.
Jul 04, 2015 Lu rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! I had no idea that Chinese immigrants were brought to the south to work on plantations. I really liked Sugar's voice and enthusiasm for life, given all of her misfortunes. It proves that family doesn't have to be blood related.
May 13, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
A gentle historical fiction for children set in reconstruction Louisiana, interesting because it explores an aspect of this time period I had never heard of before. The setting is very real but the characters are more stereotypes than fully rounded individuals.
Oct 02, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I like how she gets out of River Road
Jun 11, 2015 Sydney rated it it was amazing
this is an amazing book. it really speaks to your heart. very heartwarming
Edward Sullivan
Jan 29, 2013 Edward Sullivan rated it liked it
An elegantly written tale set in early 1870's Louisiana.
Mrs. Lassen's Class
Apr 29, 2015 Mrs. Lassen's Class rated it it was amazing

Sugar is a good book its about a girl named Sugar she is about 10 years old. It takes place at River Road Plantation along the Mississippi river (and slavery over.) But Mr.Wills, the owner, still bosses them around because of their skin color. Sugar and everyone else that is a different skin color then Mr.Wills have to work in a sugarcane field. Sugar has a big wonderful spirit. Sugar also has a good relationship with Mr.Wills son Billy. In one of the parts when Sugar meets Billy. Billy
Feb 28, 2017 Maleah rated it it was amazing
Its a very good book and its historical fiction.
Sugar is a lovely story about acceptance and friendship in the Reconstruction South, but what it’s really about, as you might suspect from the title, is Sugar, the girl. Jewell Parker Rhodes really shines, and probably delights, in creating these spunky and smart girls.

Sugar is a trickster like Br’er Rabbit in the stories she so loves. She’s also curious and impulsive. These characteristics continually get her into trouble, but they also make her a trailblazer. She brazenly accepts the offer of
Cindy Geno
Mar 06, 2017 Cindy Geno rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
#5 a book by a person of color #27
May 22, 2013 Samuel rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
Ten-year-old Sugar lives on a sugar plantation in Louisiana during the turbulent, difficult years of Reconstruction. Her mother is dead, her father has never returned after being sold during the closing days of slavery, and she has to contend with the grueling challenge of planting and harvesting sugarcane. The community of plantation workers is there to help her, but change is afoot, personified by a group of Chinese workers who are hired to help work the fields. And what will become of Sugar's ...more
“Life’s hard … but still you’ve got to find joy where you can.”

It is 1870 in Louisiana. The civil war is over and the slaves have been freed, but are they really free? The story takes place on River Road Plantation where former slaves now work the sugar cane fields for pay, but they are nearly as trapped as they were as slaves. They have no where else to go and the money they make isn't nearly enough. Attitudes are slow to change, as well. Many whites, including the former overseer Mr. Tom, stil
Confession: I got this book out of the middle-grade section at my library, but I got it mostly for myself. I didn't really think my son would like it--he doesn't like 'girl' books in general, and he's not interested in discrimination, racism, slavery or history in general. So I thought I'd put it on when he was in the car, and when he complained, I'd turn it off and listen to it by myself when he wasn't in the car with me.
Turns out, he loved it. He never complained once about it being girlie, o
Amanda Harris
Oct 20, 2014 Amanda Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Set in 1870 and 1871 in Reconstruction era Louisiana, this historical fiction title follows one sugar cane harvest season in the life of ten-year-old Sugar. Sugar lives on the River Road plantation along with several elderly residents who have befriended her after the death of her mother. The Beales have taken her in as a sort of surrogate child now that all their own children have left the area. Although life is hard, Sugar still manages to find time to play and to dream. Her friendship with Bi ...more
Alisha Funkhouser
Dec 08, 2014 Alisha Funkhouser rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
Rhodes, J., Brigham, N., & Little, B. (2013). Sugar. New York: Little, Brown.

Fiction Choice: Historical Fiction

School Library Journal Review

Sugar is a 10 year old girl who is growing up on a sugar plantation in Louisiana after emancipation. Because the slaves were freed, many newly freed slaves left to find a new life. This brought in immigrant Chinese workers. Sugar is a compassionate girl, who at first hates her name because she hates that she must work in the sugar fields. She befriends t
Sugar lives on a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana. She and all those who live in the old slave shacks on the plantation with her are free-- technically-- since President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but it sure doesn’t feel like free. They do back- breaking every day in the sugar cane fields, often from dawn and into the night. Sugar hates sugar.

Sugar is always getting into trouble because she’s a dreamer and just a tiny bit rebellious. She wants to be good, she really does. B
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Sugar Dissolving in Water 1 11 May 16, 2014 09:52PM  
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Jewell Parker Rhodes has always loved reading and writing stories. Born and raised in Manchester, a largely African-American neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh, she was a voracious reader as a child. She began college as a dance major, but when she discovered there were novels by African Americans, for African Americans, she knew she wanted to be an author. She wrote six novels for adult ...more
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