... life through the lens of a basketball journey.


Growing up in Williamstown, Virginia, the one and only thing Sugar Rodgers had was family. Everything else had no guarantees. Sugar was a tomboy, but she didn't see herself as athletic until around fifth grade. Then her love of sports took center stage: golf first (she became a state champion), then football, and ultimately basketball. Just as the other pieces of her life had ups and downs, so did her basketball journey. Still, she kept looking forward, not back and ultimately reached the pinnacle of her sport: a member of the Minnesota Lynx Women's National Basketball Team. 

Parent Perspective:
Sugar Rodgers writes in a very conversational, matter-of-fact way that will resonate with young readers. She shares her strengths and weaknesses and life's highs and lows in a very accessible, realistic way. While her basketball journey is the main "storyline," at its core, this is a book offering life lessons and advice for teens. There are innumerable examples of the changes that inevitably come our way, and Sugar tells us about the ones she handled well, and the others she struggled with. One that stuck with me was her story about resisting a coach's advice to talk with a counselor. She shared her reasons and "prejudices" about counseling ... and then she tried it.

As good and accessible as the story is, it could have been more powerful. I wish that she had had an editor to help her smooth out the rough spots, know when to get out of the weeds, and added some closing thoughts to offer a bit of a "what's next" so to speak. 

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Sports lovers and athletes with dreams of being in the professional ranks someday will be digging in to learn what Sugar learned about herself as a person and an athlete.

Content Awareness Factors:

There are descriptions of violence and drugs.

Type of Book:
This is a memoir about WNBA plater Suga Rodgers.
Educational Themes:

In addition to being Sugar Rodger's personal history, the book presents lessons in perseverance, change, and family relationships, among others. 

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
12 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
12 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. Sugar's is a compelling story, it just isn't told as strongly as it could be.

Title They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood
Author Sugar Rodgers
Publisher Black Sheep, Imprint of Akashic Books © 2021
ISBN 9781617759291
Material Paperback
Cost $14.95
Genres Family, Sports, Biography
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