After his mother’s death, 11-year-old Sugar is sent to live with his disabled uncle in a one-room shack in a Mississippi swamp. As Uncle Free teaches him how to catch and sell fish and frogs, Sugar battles his grief, his fear of his new home, and taunts of ‘swamp rat’ from the local boys. He finds solace in watching the construction of the community’s new church, and he looks forward to seeing the stained glass window that his mother had helped buy before her death. Then he learns that his mother’s window won’t be used, and his angry protests unite him with his uncle in a triumphant conclusion. In an author’s note, Rubright writes that she based the novel, her first for young readers, on boyhood anecdotes of early-twentieth century civil rights activist Owen Whitfield, and the text is filled with rich atmospheric and period detail. But what will affect readers most are Sugar’s gradual, brave recovery from grief and the growing pride and love he shares with his new guardian. Occasional, soft-edged drawings illustrate.