In 1738, fifteen-year-old Amari’s peaceful village life in Africa came to an end. Her village was burned and her family brutally murdered as she watched. She was then put on a slave ship, bound for America, where she would be bought as a gift for her owner’s sixteen-year-old son. Amari would have given up completely, without the loving guidance of Avi, a woman she befriends on the ship to America. Avi tells her never to give up hope. An indentured white girl, Polly, is given the job of training Amari. Polly is not happy about having to work with an African, but soon these two young women learn they share the same dream: freedom.
Sharon Draper is the author of several Coretta Scott King award-winning books. In Copper Sun, Draper shows her readers glimpses of the horrors of slavery, but keeps her descriptions general, making this book accessible to the faint-hearted reader. This historical young adult novel would be a great classroom assignment. The afterword of the book explains some of the interesting historical details that enrich the novel. Ages 12-14.