Lesley welcomed authors Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos to speak on their book, Sugar Changed the World, A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Aronson and Budhos, a husband-and-wife team, co-authored “Sugar Changed the World,” and gave an author talk in the University Hall Amphitheater on Monday, September 24, which was sponsored by the Lesley University Diversity Council.
The authors said they stumbled upon the subject for the book after they realized that sugar and the sugar trade touched both of their ancestries. Aronson and Budhos, who have each authored a number of books, tell sugar’s history through personal voices and narratives.
“I’m the fiction writer in the team, and Marc is the historian, and we realized there’s a way in which the merging of those two sensibilities can form a whole,” reflected Budhos, an associate professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey.
The book is geared toward young adult readers, and it addresses troubling topics, including the brutality endured by slaves at sugar plantations. Sugar is a grueling crop that must be harvested on a relentless cycle.We teach slavery through cotton in the U.S., but if you really want to take a global view of where and when and how many people were affected, it’s sugar,” said Budhos. “That’s what created the massive export of Africans to the Caribbean and elsewhere.”
"We teach slavery through cotton in the U.S., but if you really want to take a global view of where and when and how many people were affected, it’s sugar,” said Budhos. “That’s what created the massive export of Africans to the Caribbean and elsewhere.”
In fact, Aronson said, of the 12 million or so slaves sold into the Atlantic slave trade, only 4 percent came to North America - 96 percent went to the sugar lands.
“History is not painless, but there also is true heroism and it’s important to teach that with upper middle grade kids,” said Aronson, a member of the graduate faculty of the Rutgers School for Information Science.
During their visit to Lesley, the authors were introduced by Dr. Barbara “B.J.” Addison Reid, Director of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion at Lesley, and by Dr. Mary Ann Cappiello, an Associate Professor of Literacy at Lesley, who praised the evolution of young adult literature from the “problem novels” to today’s more nuanced and substantive books that deal with concepts such as race, gender and identity - books like “Sugar Changed the World.”
Cappiello and Aronson have collaborated professionally, and founded “The Uncommon Corps,” which is a group that advocates for a greater role for nonfiction trade books in the classroom and for more professional development on nonfiction trade books for teachers.
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