Book Review: Copper Sun

Copper SunCopper Sun by Sharon M. Draper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Copper Sun is the story Amari, a fifteen year old African girl in the early 1700s. Slave traders raid her village, kill her family and capture Amari. After a harrowing journey across the ocean on a slave ship, she arrives in the Carolinas where she is purchased by a cruel plantation owner as a present for his sixteen year old son.

On the plantation she makes friends with Polly, a white, fifteen year old indentured servant. One day a chance opens up for Polly and Amari to escape the plantation and they take it. They hope to make it to the Spanish colony of Fort Mose, Florida but the journey is a long and perilous one.

This book is written for high school students but it doesn’t sugar coat the harsh reality of the time at all. It’s even brave enough to acknowledge that female slaves were raped by their owners but the concept is presented in a manner that’s appropriate for the intended audience. This was a hard read – the way slaves were treated was simply horrible. It’s so realistic – no matter how well things are going for Amari, she longs to go back to living with her family in Africa. (I detest stories about this time period that suppose that slaves who had kindly plantation owners didn’t have that bad of a life.) The author did extensive research to write this book and although fiction, it’s historically accurate as to what kinds of things were happening during the time period.

This book is a Coretta Scott King Award winner which is an award that recognizes outstanding African American authors and illustrators. It’s awarded for young adult and children’s books about the African American experience. Even though the subject matter was tough, I loved this book and I could not put it down.

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