Copper Sun

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Copper Sun Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Raw, well-researched story of young enslaved girl.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 26 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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 and fondled. There are hundreds of deaths, a shark attack, beatings, and two murders. The violence of the African slavery trade is detailed and horrific.


Adultery is discussed.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byConcerned Girl December 12, 2019

Not for all middle school aged kids!

My son had to read this for an 8th grade English assignment. Would've been a good book for middle school had it not had all the sexual content in it. The m... Continue reading
Adult Written byMomTeacherReader December 23, 2014

Beautiful, truthful depiction of slavery!

This is a great book for eight graders to study at the end of the year as they are learning about slavery and the Civil War. It isn't sugar coated , and re... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilyLynne April 25, 2014


This book is not a true story, but things that happen in the story were part of life for slaves. It made me aware of how much slaves really suffered, although... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBookWorm220 December 31, 2013


I really enjoyed this book, it was always interesting. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen a new twist was added. But, at the same time it is re... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reading about the African-American experience

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