©1965 Elizabeth Borton de Trevino; (P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
We chose this book from the suggested literature list in The Story of the World, Activity Book 3: Early Modern Times. I had never heard of the book and with younger children, we decided to use the audio version. I am so glad we did! As a read-a-loud to the children it would have lacked the fluid speech that this book deserves. The narrator brings Juan to life in a way that I never could have done.
My children are 10, 8 and 6. There were a few points in the book where I needed to stop and explain the situation. Also, the scene in the monastery where there is a discussion about live models for the crucifixes required some discussion about death, life and customs of the times.
The book itself is tragic, painful, heart-wrenching and beautiful. At times there are beatings and cruelty, yet there is a greater priority on love and redemption. It is a rich and beautiful story of a slave looking back on his life. Without giving anything away, we shed many tears together during this book.
I will say this, only two chapters in, the children were asking if we could listen to the book several times over! It was just beautiful! We will gladly listen again and again!
If I could sum up this story in 3 words it would be classic, inspiring, and moving.
My favorite character was Juan because he always seemed helpful and joyful, even in the most dire situations.
If I, Juan de Pareja was a film, the tag line should be:"An inspiring moment."
Listen to it or read the book. It will not be a waste of your time.
The narrator did a wonderful job! This YA historical fiction is not going to be a page turner like some others but the story is intriguing, making you feel as if you are there. The writing is excellent and the book left me with the desire to know more about its characters! Loved it!
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