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Publisher's Summary

In the era of Rembrandt, Rubens, and Van Dyke, Spain had its own great painter: Diego Velasquez. His assistant is an African slave, Juan, who, by helping his master in his studio in the preparation of paints and stretching of canvasses, becomes an artist himself. Self-taught by watching his master's technique, he is torn between the need to keep his secret, for such work as the creation of art is forbidden to slaves, and the desire to reveal his own talents.
©1965 Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

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What listeners say about I, Juan de Pareja

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, just beautiful!

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!

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

Definitely recommend this! I, Jaun De Pareja has an amazing storyline and the reader did a fantastic job!

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    5 out of 5 stars

Good for the family

My children enjoyed listening to it. We liked how it closely followed Juan’s life and that things worked out well for him in the end. The reader did a great job with voices and inflection.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent Spanish Art intro, but only somewhat “Woke”

It was published in 1967, so Juan’s portrayal might be overly accommodating to the institution of black slavery. That said, it’s a quite human book about a clever yet sensitive man trying to make the best of a very unfair life that also has some very silver linings.

But if you want an intro to Piquaresque literature, Spanish history, and Siglo de Oro art — it’s crazy good.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful story!

While there were moments when it seemed to drag, the story was narrated very well. By the end, I felt emotionally attached to the characters.

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  • J
  • 09-12-18

One of my favorites!!!😍

I read this in 4th grade and pretty much completely forgot the story after that. When my brother read it in school, we bought it as an audiobook and it is amazing. There are so many touching moments and the narrator has such a great voice and impersonates the characters so well! This book can be enjoyed by all ages! 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic

If you could sum up I, Juan de Pareja in three words, what would they be?

If I could sum up this story in 3 words it would be classic, inspiring, and moving.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Juan because he always seemed helpful and joyful, even in the most dire situations.

Have you listened to any of Johanna Ward’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

If I, Juan de Pareja was a film, the tag line should be:"An inspiring moment."

Any additional comments?

Listen to it or read the book. It will not be a waste of your time.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a must for History or Art lovers

This is what a living history book should be. ..full of imagination based in strong historic events. We loved looking up the works of Art as we journeyed through Juan's story! Really a must read for your 1600-1700 history time frame to get a look inside Spanish life, other artists, slavery, and such. truly moving and a favorite of the whole family!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

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!