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I, Juan de Pareja Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 1, 1965


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1100L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (January 1, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374335311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374335311
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent novel, written in the form of an autobiography, about the painter Vel†zquez and his Negro slave and assistant, Juan de Pareja...[who] was legally prohibited from painting because he was a slave." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

About the Author

Elizabeth Borton de Treviño (1904-2000) was the highly acclaimed author of many books for young people. Born in California, it was her move to Mexico in the 1930s that inspired many of her books, including El Güero: A True Adventure Story and Leona: A Love Story. She won the Newbery Medal in 1966 for I, Juan de Pareja.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

We laughed and cried through out the book.
J. Roger
Author de Trevino has captured the mood of 17th century Spain perfectly, and her accounts of Juan's Italian travels fascinate the reader as well.
Allyn
Here I am, 27 years old and writing about a book I read when I was 11 or so.
dpbelle@aol.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Allyn on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Based on "thin threads" of truth, "I, Juan de Pareja" explores the relationship between famous 17th-century Spanish painter Diego Velazquez and his black slave, Juan de Pareja. Written in first person as if Juan is really telling his story, it is the chronicle of much of Juan's life and and his colorful experiences as apprentice to a master painter.
There are many excellent aspects of this book, yet I think that the "strength" of the character of Juan is the book's biggest asset. Many books that are simply first person narratives are dry and boring, yet one could never complain of boredom while reading "I, Juan de Pareja." Juan's intelligence shines through in every page and his intuitiveness fills the book with detail. Also, his struggle to paint (because Spanish slaves at the time were forbidden to practice the arts) is fascinating, suspenseful, and ultimately inspiring. This book would not be a 5-star read without a strong character like Juan.
Historical detail also adds great richness to the book. Author de Trevino has captured the mood of 17th century Spain perfectly, and her accounts of Juan's Italian travels fascinate the reader as well. Art facts and descriptions are well-placed, and the reader will find themselves interested in the rich history presented in the book, rather than bored by it.
Furthermore, supporting characters are excellent! The portrayal of Diego Velazquez was well-imagined by the author, and the master painter's comments ring with insight and truth. The nobles, the painter's family, the Spanish king, Dutch painter Ruebens...they all come to life in "I, Juan de Pareja."
Finally, the end of the book is triumphant and fitting. I can't say much more without spoiling the book, but trust me, it's one of the most well-done endings you could find. It is hard to find a single flaw in this book. Vibrant history, excellent characters...why aren't more people reading this book?
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Huston on December 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
One reason the story is so powerful is because it is NOT an adrenaline-packed full-bodied cry against social injustice. It's a quiet, beautiful story, and these very qualities highlight why slavery was such an insidious institution.

Some reviewers claim the book is slow. They are right, but let's examine the slowness in a little more detail. First of all, the book is intended to be a realistic look at a fictional person (not a biography as reviews state), which forced the author to cut back on the "page-turner" syndrome we're affected with today. (I'm going to sound preachy here, but most people don't lead perilous lives!! We aren't secretly spies, we don't get lost on islands populated by enigmatic others, and we don't become pop stars on American Idol.)

The book lacks whips, and bloodhounds, and chases across Southern swamps in the moonlight with a baby strapped to the hero's back.

But that doesn't make the book any less of a voice against slavery.

The sheer genius of the book is that it shows why slavery was an accepted part of life, and also shows why slavery is wrong. Juanico (he's referred to by a child's name for almost the entire book) is well-fed, he's loved, he's taken care of. He's a model slave leading a perfect life of servitude. At the time people would point to slaves like Juanico and say slavery clearly wasn't evil because Juan was well-treated.

As privileged readers, however, we know Juan doesn't like his permanent childlike state. He wants to paint. He wants it bad enough to steal from a man who has served as his father figure. Bad enough to risk death.

That's what slavery is all about -- limiting someone's life based on the color of their skin.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on February 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Trevino's 1966 Newbery winner may seem a sleeper by today's standards of violence and adult themes in YA literature. Nevertheless, I consider it an excellent representative for both Biography and Historical Fiction genres. Careful research yields authentic 17th century detail as Trevnio recreates the Baroque court of Spain, from the viewpoint of the royal painter, Diego Velasquez, and his faithful Black slave, Juan de Pareja.
Narrated in the first person by Juanico from his sheltered childhood, this gently-paced book relates the historical events and reconstructed dialogue and emotions for much of his life. The poor boy suffered horribly at the hands of a cruel gypsy mule driver, but once he reached the haven of his new master in Madrid, such torture would never be inflicted on him again. Juan disovers that he also possesses artistic talents and ambitions, but in Baroque Spain it was illegal for a slave to practice any form of art. Thus he had to steal colors and paint in secret, as the punishment for disobedience to this particular law was most severe--even unto death.
During this partial biography of the great court painter, Velasquez, we meet two other famous artists who visited the master: Rubens and Murillo. We are treated to private, behind-the-scenes glimpses of the blond King and his pompous entourage. As Juan travels in Italy with his famous Master, he receives conflicting impressions of Italians and their artistic style. Yet he earns the respect of those around him with his impressive, folkoric healing skills. But art is his private passion; he refuses to stop painting on the sly. Since he is an honest man, such deception causes him great guilt and shame.
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