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Copper Sun Paperback – January 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416953485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416953487
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up–This action-packed, multifaceted, character-rich story describes the shocking realities of the slave trade and plantation life while portraying the perseverance, resourcefulness, and triumph of the human spirit. Amari is a 15-year-old Ashanti girl who is happily anticipating her marriage to Besa. Then, slavers arrive in her village, slaughter her family, and shatter her world. Shackled, frightened, and despondent, she is led to the Cape Coast where she is branded and forced onto a boat of death for the infamous Middle Passage to the Carolinas. There, Percival Derby buys her as a gift for his son's 16th birthday. Trust and friendship develop between Amari and Polly, a white indentured servant, and when their mistress gives birth to a black baby, the teens try to cover up Mrs. Derby's transgression. However, Mr. Derby's brutal fury spurs them to escape toward the rumored freedom of Fort Mose, a Spanish colony in Florida. Although the narrative focuses alternately on Amari and Polly, the story is primarily Amari's, and her pain, hope, and determination are acute. Cruel white stereotypes abound except for the plantation's mistress, whose love is colorblind; the doctor who provides the ruse for the girls' escape; and the Irish woman who gives the fugitives a horse and wagon. As readers embrace Amari and Polly, they will better understand the impact of human exploitation and suffering throughout history. In addition, they will gain a deeper knowledge of slavery, indentured servitude, and 18th-century sanctuaries for runaway slaves.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. Best known for her contemporary African American characters, Draper's latest novel is a searing work of historical fiction that imagines a 15-year-old African girl's journey through American slavery. The story begins in Amari's Ashanti village, but the idyllic scene explodes in bloodshed when slavers arrive and murder her family. Amari and her beloved, Besa, are shackled, and so begins the account of impossible horrors from the slave fort, the Middle Passage, and auction on American shores, where a rice plantation owner buys Amari for his 16-year-old son's sexual enjoyment. In brutal specifics, Draper shows the inhumanity: Amari is systematically raped on the slave ship and on the plantation and a slave child is used as alligator bait by white teenagers. And she adds to the complex history in alternating chapters that flip between Amari and Polly, an indentured white servant on Amari's plantation. A few plot elements, such as Amari's chance meeting with Besa, are contrived. But Draper builds the explosive tension to the last chapter, and the sheer power of the story, balanced between the overwhelmingly brutal facts of slavery and Amari's ferocious survivor's spirit, will leave readers breathless, even as they consider the story's larger questions about the infinite costs of slavery and how to reconcile history. A moving author's note discusses the real places and events on which the story is based. Give this to teens who have read Julius Lester's Day of Tears (2005). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Sharon Draper is a two-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, most recently for Copper Sun, and previously for Forged by Fire. She's also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Author Award for New Talent for Tears of a Tiger and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for The Battle of Jericho and November Blues. Her other books include Romiette and Julio, Darkness Before Dawn, and Double Dutch. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years. She's a popular conference speaker, addressing educational and literary groups both nationally and internationally.

Customer Reviews

I could not put this book down and finished it in one day.
erin
The characters were well developed, the plot wasn't very predictable, and it gave me a sense of awe and wonder when I finished it.
Royal Avid Reader
I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone, even if it's a young adult book!!!!
Ann Hooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fifteen-year-old Amari loves life in her home village in Africa. She spends her days strolling along the stream, daydreaming about her handsome future husband, teasing her little brother, and avoiding chores. But everything changes the day the pale-faced visitors arrive.

Everyone contributes for the celebration to welcome the strangers. Amari helps her mother arrange the food, her storyteller father shares his tales, her fiancé plays his drum, and everyone dances. But then their world shatters as the strangers begin killing the adults and young children. Amari stands stunned as her parents drop dead from gunfire. Her little brother urges her to run into the jungle for safety; they try, only for Amari to be captured and her brother to be shot dead.

The nightmare continues as Amari and the other young people find themselves chained together and forced to walk for days. At the coast, Amari views the ocean for the first time and most of her friends for the last time. Packed tightly into ships, Amari's people endure horrific conditions: hunger, thirst, sickness, lying in their own waste, and rape. More die and are tossed overboard, but Amari survives with encouragement from a woman named Afi, who tells Amari that she has to live; Amari has a purpose in life and she must find hope. But hope is the last thing to be found on a slave ship, and that is what Amari has become --- a slave.

Upon arrival in America, Amari is sold to the highest bidder, a rice grower wanting a birthday present for his son. Soon Amari meets Polly, a white girl indentured to the same rice grower. The two girls from different ends of the earth bond together in order to survive, and their friendship just might help them fight their way to freedom.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Royal Avid Reader on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Copper Sun was an exceptional book. I completely fell in love with it. The characters were well developed, the plot wasn't very predictable, and it gave me a sense of awe and wonder when I finished it. The book is under the genre of historical fiction and is about a 15 year old slave girl who was captured and sold into slavery from her native home in Africa. However, this isn't your typical fly-away-to-freedom slavery book. Amari, the main character, was raped and brutally beaten before she escaped to freedom with her white friend and a young boy. Sharon Draper offers two perspectives-that of Amari and of her white comrad Polly. Ironically instead of escaping to the North, they escape to the South where a non-discriminatory fort exists. There all are free and equal which is extremely uncommon during the year 1738. I won't tell anymore-you have to read it for yourself!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Sharon M. Draper for some time. She is a master at writing realistic fiction. COPPER SUN is her first historical fiction and it is amazing -- as well as frighteningly authentic.

This book follows the trials and tribulations of Amari, a fifteen-year-old African maiden. After witnessing the slaughter of both the old and young in her African village, including her parents and her young brother, she is chained, by feet, hands, and neck, lined up, and herded miles on foot to the ocean by pale skinned visitors with fire sticks. She watches her fellow Africans suffer incomprehensible humiliation and death at the hands of their captors as they are shipped like animal cargo across the ocean. The life that awaits her is nothing like she could have ever imagined.

Amari must adapt to life as a purchased slave on a rice plantation, a life that includes atrocities committed upon her by her white owners. She meets Polly, an indentured servant who has dreams of making it to the big house and being a fine lady of standing. Instead, Polly lives in the slave quarters and finds she's given the chore of civilizing Amari, now called Myna, and teaching her enough English to work. After witnessing murder, the two girls find themselves thrown together in a desperate run for freedom.

This is not just another book about slavery. This is a book about something real and tangible. Ms. Draper's writing is so vivid that you can smell the rank odors beneath ship. You can feel the pain of being lashed with a whip. Your throat will constrict at the heart-wrenching pain of a mother and child being forced apart. You will also celebrate the strength and spirit of Amari and those she inspires.

COPPER SUN won the Coretta Scott King Award. This is a book I will make sure goes on my classroom shelves. I give COPPER SUN a gold star!

Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reviewer on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book has a very powerful message to it. This made me think about all the things that I take for granted. With Amari being fifteen, I can relate to her. Usually you can not find books like this now a days. This book makes me think more about how lucky I am and how there are kids in the world that aren't as fortunate as I am. Sharon knows how to grab the readers attention. My friends and I are not big readers and we thought this book was good, and it is one of the very few books that we can stand to read. Drapers knows how to catch your wondering eye because when I saw this book on the amazon website I wanted to read it and I was not really interested in reading any other books.

I recommend this book to all of those people out there that do not like to read. Even though this book is a long one you do not get board with it you are interested with in the very first paragraph and Amari talking about her homeland Africa and about her family.

This book is a good one to read and I hope all of you enjoy my review, and reading this book.
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