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Ten-year-old Sugar has lived on the River Road sugar plantation her whole life, and, just a few years after slavery has been abolished, life is still tough. She spends long days in the fields, cutting cane until her hands bleed. Sugar's mama has passed away, and her daddy is long gone, leaving her in the care of old Mister and Missus Beale. They mean well, but they can't quite contain Sugar's lively spirit and tendency to get herself into trouble. Sugar has always yearned to learn more about the world, and finds her chance when a group of Chinese laborers come to help in the fields. She wants to know everything about them, but the rest of her group shies away, not ready to embrace these folks who are so very different. As she builds relationships with young Chinese worker Beau and wise elder Master Liu, alongside her other forbidden friend, Billy, the plantation owner's rambunctious son, Sugar learns how she can use her knack for storytelling and song to bridge the gap and help everyone work to build a brighter future. Following Ninth Ward, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor book and an Al Roker Book Club pick, Jewell Parker Rhodes offers another celebration of hope, change, the triumph of the underdog, and the African American experience in the deep South.