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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 10 Aug 2007
TeensReadToo "Eat. Drink. Read. Be Merrier." (All Over the US & Canada) - See all my reviews
I have been a fan of Sharon M. Draper for some time. She is a master at writing realistic fiction. COPPER SUN is her first historical fiction and it is amazing -- as well as frighteningly authentic.

This book follows the trials and tribulations of Amari, a fifteen-year-old African maiden. After witnessing the slaughter of both the old and young in her African village, including her parents and her young brother, she is chained, by feet, hands, and neck, lined up, and herded miles on foot to the ocean by pale skinned visitors with fire sticks. She watches her fellow Africans suffer incomprehensible humiliation and death at the hands of their captors as they are shipped like animal cargo across the ocean. The life that awaits her is nothing like she could have ever imagined.

Amari must adapt to life as a purchased slave on a rice plantation, a life that includes atrocities committed upon her by her white owners. She meets Polly, an indentured servant who has dreams of making it to the big house and being a fine lady of standing. Instead, Polly lives in the slave quarters and finds she's given the chore of civilizing Amari, now called Myna, and teaching her enough English to work. After witnessing murder, the two girls find themselves thrown together in a desperate run for freedom.

This is not just another book about slavery. This is a book about something real and tangible. Ms. Draper's writing is so vivid that you can smell the rank odors beneath ship. You can feel the pain of being lashed with a whip. Your throat will constrict at the heart-wrenching pain of a mother and child being forced apart. You will also celebrate the strength and spirit of Amari and those she inspires.

COPPER SUN won the Coretta Scott King Award. This is a book I will make sure goes on my classroom shelves. I give COPPER SUN a gold star!

Reviewed by: Cana Rensberger
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5.0 out of 5 stars need a good buy, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Copper Sun (Paperback)
A very good read,makes you stop and realise the injustices some had to endure.A good authoress that makes you feel
you,re watching it happen in front of you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A...mazing, 9 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Copper Sun (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book...I've been after something like this ever since reading roots...this book could easily be made into a film and I would buy a copy without question...gutted now that I've finished it but detox worth five or even six stars..
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sunrise, 6 Nov 2010
BeatleBangs1964 (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Copper Sun (Paperback)
Amari, 15 and her younger brother Kwasi enjoy their life in a rural village in Africa. Members of the Ewe tribe, Amari and her family describe the fruits, meats and drum culture that is part of their lives in Africa in 1738.

Amari has been betrothed to Besa, a member of a neighboring tribal village. Kwasi enjoys poking good natured fun at Amari for having a crush and being delighted with her impending match.

The lives of the Africans changes the day the "pale faced strangers" with "skin the color of goat's milk" arrive. Amari, fascinated by people who look so different from any she has ever known is all too eager to spread the word about the villagers. Her father, a kind man welcomes the newcomers with a specially prepared meal and a special drum introduction. Amari and Kwasi help their mother prepare the food. Kwasi especially loves darting about in the forest and climbing trees to gather fruits.

Amari's father, a gifted weaver and story teller regales the newcomers with stories of tribal history. Drum music and dancing ensue and Amari is impressed with her father's facility for langugage.

Drum beats are repaced by gunshots; several of the newcomers shoot the villagers. Several Ashanti members signal to the newcomers to make their move and claim people for slaves. Amari is the only surviving member of her family. She flees into the woods, only to be captured and led in a slave chain. The slave march takes several days.

Once the party reaches the coast, Amari sees the ocean for the very first time. That view is short lived as she and the rest of the captives are forced into a locked hut until a slave ship arrives. Once the ship arrives, the surviving members of that Trail of Tears are boarded below decks, wedged into shelf-like bunks. No provisions are made for hygiene and people are forced to lie in their own waste and body fluids.

Hunger and thirst are constant; the women are forced to spend the nights with the sailors who degrade them. One kind sailor named Bill teaches Amari some English words; only he does not subject her to torture and abuse. Afi, a kind motherly woman takes Amari under her wing and praises her for her strength, her survival spirit.

Once on board in South Carolina, the slaves are placed on the auction block and sold. A cruel man named Mr. Derby buys Amari for his son as a 16th birthday present. The boy, overfed with a sense of entitlement is rude and unpleasant to all, especially his stepmother, a kind woman who does not support slavery.

Survival is a daily challenge on the Derby Rice Plantation. Polly, an indentured Anglo-American girl Amari's age becomes an ally as well as Teenie, a kind kitchen slave and her son Tidbit, 4. These 4 form a bond and daily learn the rules of the new land so as to survive.

They get their chance to prove their mettle and readers will hange on to every page to see what decisions they make. An excellent historical novel, readers learn about Ft. Mose, in what is now St. Augustine, Florida and the history behind the place. Readers are drawn to the abolitionists and learn about the atrocities committed on slaves.

Sharon Draper is a genius and a gifted story teller. She is the granddaughter of a freed slave and so, this story comes from her heart. She even includes a list of resources that she used to help her in her research and the result is this stellar masterpiece of a book. I highly recommend this for all families and schools. Amari's story is really everybody's story. It is about the holocaust of the antebellum (pre Civil War) years and about the resiliency of the human spirit and that good people DO make a difference.

Please read this. You will be glad you did.

*Note: Sculptor Eddie Dixon made many statues depicting the Afro-Seminoles, who later sought asylum in Mexico. Many Afro-Seminole unions took place in Ft. Moze.
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Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
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