Copper Sun



Raw, well-researched story of young slave girl.
Popular with kids

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.

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

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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; OK 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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What parents and kids say

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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 really deep, Draper does a wonderful job of pulling you into the story. I found myself picturing the story in my mind as I read. I think that the book does a very good job of showing how horrific and terrible the slave trade was while at the same time, keeping it appropriate for young adults. This book left me wanting to know more about the time, and especially the slave trade. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and adventure. Enjoy!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byRebecca.Miller June 28, 2011

Best book I read for a school assignment

I had to read this for a school assignment. It was one of the best books that I've read.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byI love the book... April 3, 2011

Best book I read for school

I had to read this book in my eight grade class also and it was the best book I have ever read for school. Copper Sun is very educational and it helped you truly understand the torture Africans had to live through in the days of slavery. It also gave us a positive message to never give up hope and to not judge people based on what skin color they have. I loved this book and I couldn't put it down!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages


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