Guest Author - Taisha Turner
Sharon M Draper writes a gripping book, Copper Sun. The historical fiction novel gives the modern young adult insight into the horrors of the American slave trade. An African female teenager’s life is uprooted by slave traders. Her village is demolished. Family and friends are brutally killed before her eyes. She is stolen, then forced marched to an West African slave fort. Through Amari's eyes young adults witness the middle passage horrors.
Ms. Draper captures the despair and confusion Amari faces during her ordeals. Who are these strange barbarians with pink skin? What language do they speak? What are the customs of the new land? The only known constant during her travails is the sun, the Copper Sun. It sets each evening wherever she finds herself.
Also, Sharon M Draper captures the hope which sustains the teenage slave through the conditions of slavery. Hope is all she can call her own. She buries it in her soul. It brightly burns there. They take her freedom; they take her name. It is this hope within which keeps the young slave alive.
Nights give no peace to the overworked Colonial American slave. She is a birthday gift to the plantation owner’s son. Night is the time, she faces more degradations. They come from the hands of the spoiled sixteen-year-old son.
Yet, she finds friendship during her enslavement. First, there is Afi. She is another slave who helps Amari survive in the African slave fort and later, on the slave ship. Unknown, to Amari she makes the middle passage bearable for Afi. Later, on the plantation, she meets the family cook and her only son, Teenie and Tidbit. The master’s wife is kind to her, but she has problems of her own. And, there is an indentured servant, Polly.
Amari now known as Myna makes a decision that can cost her life. Not only her life, but the lives of Tidbit and Polly. She has a dream and will fight against all odds to make it real. Amari is determined not to allow anything or anyone to keep her from reaching her goal.
Sharon M Draper writes an engrossing novel. The Coretta Scott King Award winner draws young people and adults into Amari’s story of capture, middle passage, slave auction, plantation life and escape for freedom. Ms. Draper writes well-rounded characters. She depicts no one major character as all bad or all good. The reader discovers their motivation and reasoning.
Ms. Draper did a copious amount of research for Copper Sun. She actually visited western Africa and a slave fort. Also, Sharon Draper spent countless hours doing research on the web and in books. At the book’s end, she lists some of the web sites and books.
Although the novel’s protagonist is a female, readers of both sexes will enjoy it. Copper Sun has 302 pages. The review copy is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. The young adult (ages 12-16) book is not only for Black History Month, but for the entire year.
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Note: Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper review copy was received free from the publisher.