Copper Sun

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Copper Sun
Copper Sun book cover.jpg
Official cover art
AuthorSharon M. Draper
CountryUnited States
GenreHistorical fiction
PublisherAtheneum Books
Publication date
AwardsCoretta Scott King Award

Copper Sun is a 2006 young adult novel by Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Sharon Draper. It was a National Book Award Finalist.


  • Amari is a strong 15-year-old slave, and the main character who endures the horrors of slavery.
  • Polly is a 15-year-old indentured servant and is Amari's best friend.
  • Mrs. Derby is a sweet affectionate woman. Mr. Derby’s young, second wife. She gets pregnant by Noah, whom she really loves.
  • Nathan is a kind young man who helps the children along their journey.
  • Noah is a caring, strong young man who is in love with Mrs.Derby, and impregnates Mrs. Derby. He is her bodyguard.
  • Besa "Buck" is a drummer from Amari's village and her fiance who becomes enslaved after the capture.
  • Clay is Mr. Derby's son who impregnates Amari. He is left tied to a tree by the children as a rattlesnake is slithering toward him.
  • Mr. Derby is the slave master that passes his point of view down to his son Clay.
  • Kwasi is Amari's precocious little brother who dies shortly after the massacre by getting impaled in the stomach near the village
  • Komla Amari and Kwasi's father is the village storyteller who was murdered during the capture.
  • Tidbit is an overly imaginative child. He is also the son of Teenie. He loves Hushpuppy, his dog, very much and hates the thought of parting with him.
  • Afi is Amari's good friend who is like a motherly figure to Amari from the boat to the new land.


When Draper traveled to Ghana, West Africa, she visited the Point of No Return and the castles had thousands of slaves that were kept before getting on the ship which made her inspired to write this novel.[1]

Major Themes[edit]

Copper Sun addresses issues of the African Slave Trade, slavery in America, and freedom.[2] Beverly Almond noted that the novel expresses “unimaginable hardship” and “starvation and disease”.[3] Another critic claimed that the book showed themes of "pain, hope, and determination" and "human exploitation and suffering".[4] Kirkus Reviews added the novel showed "cynicism and realistic outlook".[5]


Most critics saw Copper Sun as “unflinching and unforgettable”.[6] Another critic thought of the novel as “character driven, with a fast moving plot, and unforgettable characters”.[7] Agreeing, another critic noted that the novel was "horrific" "multi-faceted" and that "[they were] afraid to turn the page"[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Sharon Draper's Copper Sun won the Coretta Scott King award in 2007.[9]


Draper, Sharon (2006). Copper Sun. New York, New York: Simon Pulse. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-4169-5348-7.


  1. ^ "Copper Sun - My Spirit Speaks". Sharon Draper. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Copper Sun". Scholastic. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  3. ^ Almond, Beverly (April 2007). "Copper Sun". School Library Journal. School Library Journal (4): 1. ISSN 0362-8930. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  4. ^ Larson, Gerry (January 2006). "Copper Sun". School Library Journal. School Library Journey. 52 (1): 1. ISSN 0362-8930.
  5. ^ "Copper Sun". Kirkus Reviews. Kircus Reviews. 74 (1): 1. January 1, 2006. ISSN 1948-7428. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  6. ^ "Copper Sun". Scholastic. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  7. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  8. ^ Cuseo, Allan O'Grady (September 2006). "Copper Sun". Catholic Library World. Catholic Library World. 77 (1): 1. ISSN 0008-820X. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  9. ^ "Coretta Scott King Book Awards - All Recipients, 1970-Present". American Library Association. Retrieved 18 April 2015.