"Copper Sun" is the story of Amari, a 15-year-old African girl who is forced into slavery. Her village is destroyed, and she is taken to a plantation in the Carolinas, where she must try to regain her freedom.
The book begins in Amari's village, where she is excited about her upcoming marriage to Besa. White slave traders come to her village and murder all but the strongest and healthiest. The survivors are then brought to the sea, all of them connected with iron neck bands. They are taken to the slave-holding prison Cape Coast. Amari is branded and put on a boat traveling through the Middle Passage to the Carolinas.
She is sold at an auction to Percival Derby, who buys her as a 16th birthday present for his son, Clay. He also purchases Polly, a white indentured servant. Polly initially looks down on the black slaves, but she and Amari end up becoming friends and working together to escape.
Although Amari is the protagonist, the book switches to Polly's perspective for several chapters.
"Copper Sun" received critical acclaim and won multiple awards, including the 2007 Coretta Scott King Literature award and the 2007 Ohioana Award for Young Adult Literature.