Monday, August 22, 2011

Bitter sweet

I knew I going to love Sugar Changed the World: a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom and science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (633.6 ArS 2010) even before it arrived in the Doucette Library. 

**It's a nonfiction title that reads with the captivating resonance of a story being told.  Whenever people are subjected to inhumane treatment for the sake of greed you have the makings of a dramatic narrative.
**It's a personal investigation for the two authors (married) who discovered that both have family connections to the sugar industry. 
**It has cross-curricular connections with history, science, technology,
health and commerce.
**It connects different places and times to events happening today.
**Sugar is one of those things that we take for granted today but that has had a huge impact on a lot of people over time, with far reaching consequences. The Story of Salt by Mark Kurlansky struck me in a similar way -- lots of depth for something that flies beneath our radar on a daily basis.

The book is filled with fascinating photographs, illustrations, and maps from many time periods.  The front cover includes a picture of children carrying bundles of sugar cane, a photo I assumed was 'historical' but discovered (on page 52) was taken in 2005 in the Dominican Republic. The point being that for some people, like these children, this backbreaking, dangerous and underpaid work is still very much a reality.

The book includes a table of contents, index, bibliography, timeline, web resources and a note on how the authors researched the book.  There is a fairly extensive teacher's webguide with lesson plans and background information.

There are lots of sources for reviews if you're keen to read further but I would encourage you to visit Book Blather to read some interesting points made in an interchange between this blog's author and Marc Aronson.

Today's event is being held at Ana's Nonfiction Blog.  Check out other blogs recommending nonfiction children's literature.


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