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Kidbits: For the younger set


“Sugar” by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Little Brown, $16.99. 272 pages. Ages 8 to 12.

Sugar is a 10-year-old freed slave living on a sugar plantation in Louisiana five years after the Civil War and there’s nothing she hates more than sugar. Her mother died two years earlier. Her only friend, Lizzie, has gone North with her family. And the plantation owner doesn’t like his 10-year-old son Billy to be hanging around with Sugar.

The sugar workers are free now, but they are still living in their slave huts and still cutting their hands and breaking their backs working in the cane fields. Sugar, too, works in the cane fields. The younger freed slaves have gone North; only the older ones – and Sugar – are left. So the plantation owner brings workers from China to help with the harvest. Will these hard-working, younger newcomers steal the jobs? This is a fascinating look at a little-known fact of U.S. history, that plantation owners brought in workers from China. Parker Rhodes is author of Coretta Scott Honor Book, “Ninth Ward.”

Jean Westmoore


Visit the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, for its “Path Through History” weekend featuring exhibits and wood carvers at work. Activities will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $3-$6. For information, call 693-1885 or visit


If you were to dive to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans located in the western Pacific, you would be squished like a bug. The pressure at the trench’s deepest point is 8 tons (7,252 kg) per square inch.

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