I am grateful for Jewel Parker Rhodes' two young adult novels which sit side by side on my desk.
Sugar just came out just this week and I read it cover to cover this warm spring evening. Again narrating through the character of an orphaned but determined young girl, Jewell Parker Rhodes here tells the story of survival on a sugar plantation just after the Civil War. Reconstruction is barely different than slavery days in the Louisiana sugar fields, with former slaves still living in shacks, working sun up to sun down tending the sugar operations to which they had been brought as slaves. But times are changing, and when Chinese laborers are brought in to work the fields, Sugar helps brings a change of attitude to workers and plantation owners alike. Sweet, but not sacchrine, Sugar gives readers a taste of the sharp painful realities of sugarcane plantation life.
Looking back to my Dec 2010 posting on Ninth Ward I smile at having spotted it as the jewel that it is. This month, thanks to Ms. Rhodes participation in ShareOurBooks.org, the Gr 3-5 students and almost all thte staff at my school are enjoying reading this story of Lanesha survival during Hurricane Katrina. I've gathered resources about Ninth Ward and Katrina in a glog that includes various staff members reading various chapters of the book. Included on that web resource are video links to the Katrina survival story from our own staff, of the daughter of the school's attendance secretary.
285 pages 978-0316043052 Ages 8-12
Recommended by: Craig Seasholes, Librarian, Washington USA