Copper Sun

Common Sense Media says

Raw, well-researched story of young slave girl.




Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Educational value

This book can help teens explore the impact of slavery and why it continues to be important to read books like this today. The author provides a note detailing the facts she drew upon for her story. Simon & Schuster's reading group guide can help teens delve more deeply into the book's plot.

Positive messages

Readers will be moved by strong characters like Amari, who faces overwhelming circumstances and yet keeps fighting for a better tomorrow.

Positive role models

Amari is a striking, strong character who will leave an impact on readers and help them connect to an important time in American history.


Women are repeatedly and systematically raped. There are hundreds of deaths, a shark attack, beatings, and two murders. The violence of the African slave trade is detailed and horrific.


Men fondle female slaves, and adultery is discussed.


Racial name calling is prevalent, which was common for the time period.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

People drink wine and smoke, common for the time period.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this powerful novel takes an open and unveiled look at slavery in America through the eyes of a young African girl. The common brutalities of the trade -- rape, murder, kidnapping, beatings, and other inhumane treatments -- are described in detail for readers. Parents should be prepared to answer questions or read this novel alongside their teens.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Amari lived a beautiful life once. She was engaged to be married to a kind and handsome man, she had the love of her family, and she lived in a peaceful village. After strangers arrive, her life becomes something she could have never imagined -- not in her worst nightmares. Now Amari must try to live long enough to find freedom.

Is it any good?


COPPER SUN is a beautiful, gritty, horrific story. The characters that author Sharon Draper introduces are complex but still real and relatable. Families may find the violence, habitual rape, and cruelty described here a challenge to read about, but the story does succeed in connecting modern teens to a period in time that many view from the jaded distance of a textbook.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about slavery's impact on America. Why does it continue to be important to read books like Copper Sun? How does reading one person's story -- even a fictional story -- bring history to life?

  • This book describes violence and inhumane treatment. How do these details impact you? Are these descriptions necessary to bring Amari's story alive?

Book details

Author:Sharon M. Draper
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:January 3, 2006
Number of pages:306
Publisher's recommended age(s):14
Award:Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors

This review of Copper Sun was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bygroovyrrr August 12, 2009


LOVE IT THIS BOOK IS AWESUM!!! i highly recomend its educational but at the same time interesting. the messsage is perfect there is nothing inapropriate about it and it informs you alot more than what little they tell you in school.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2009

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

This is a great book that any teen as well as adult should read. From the Common Sense review I thought it would be a lot more violent. I wasn't sure if I should read it and I past it up a lot in the library, but I finally picked it up and I'm glad I did. None of the violent stuff was overly descriptive. It was an awesome book.
Teen, 14 years old Written bypeazekeeper95 January 23, 2010
Loved IT!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great role models


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