“I’m ten now. I’m not a slave anymore. I’m free. Except from sugar.”

Sugar is part of the Louisiana Girls Trilogy


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.

Want to own an autographed copy of Sugar? Order one straight from Jewell!



Introducing Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes


Recognition and Accolades awarded to Sugar

#1 Best-Selling Book of 2016
Best of Books

The Magnolia Awards, Shortlist

The University of Southern Mississippi

Sequoyah Children’s Award, Master List

Oklahoma Library Association

Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award Master List

State Library of Louisiana 

William Allen White Children’s Book Awards, Master List

Emporia State University

Volunteer State Book Award, Nominee

Tennessee Association of School Librarians

SCASL Children’s Book Award, Nominee

South Carolina Association of School Librarians

Black-Eyed Susan Master List

Maryland Association of School Librarians

Jane Addams Book Award

Jane Addams Peace Association

ALA Notable Children’s Books

American Library Association

The Best Children’s Books of the Year

Bank Street College of Education

Audie Award, Finalist

The Audio Publishers Association

VOYA Top Shelf

Voice of Youth Advocates

Summer Kids’ Indie Next List

American Booksellers Association

Best Middle-Grade Books to Make History Come Alive

Kirkus Reviews

Junior Library Guild Selection

Junior Library Guild


Words of praise for Sugar from the press and authors

“A lively and inspiring tale of overcoming the harshest of circumstances.”

Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore

“Sugar’s clipped narration is personable and engaging, strongly evoking the novel’s historical setting and myriad racial tensions, making them accessible and meaningful to beginning readers.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rhodes creates a cross-cultural exchange that includes trickster tales, food appreciation, and good old-fashioned friendship. Sugar is an appealing, adventurous heroine full of curiosity and joy, an element sorely needed in light of the important subject.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“A magical story of hope from Coretta Scott King Honor winner Rhodes.”
Kirkus Review, Starred Review

“This middle school chapter book offers a chance to learn an untold story of Reconstruction that was a precursor to the Great Migration.”
Rethinking Schools


Interviews on Sugar

Reading into History: Interview with “Sugar” Author Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes

New-York Historical Society

Award Winning Children’s Book Author Jewell Parker Rhodes Discusses Historical Fiction

Kid & The Wolf

Author Reading

Audio recording of author Jewell Parker Rhodes

The Louisiana Girls Trilogy

The Louisiana Girls Trilogy are stories of young girls coming of age and finding the strength to overcome adversity. They are steeped in the folklore of the deep south of America and are hugely popular with young readers.

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