I Juan, de Pareja

Author Elizabeth Borton De Trevino
Lexile Level 1100L
My recommend reading age: 12 and up
Historical Fiction

After his mistress dies, Juan de Pareja, a young slave boy, is sent to live with the renowned painter Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez.  As the two work together over the next few decades, Juan learns all about the painters art, and secretly begins his own painting.  Throughout the book, a tender relationship develops, to the point that it's obvious Velázquez doesn't think of Juan as his slave, but as his friend and equal.

I found this book to be an interesting quick read.  While I didn't find it so gripping I stayed up late and got dark circles under my eyes from reading, I do feel that I've expanded my knowledge of a painter I had never heard of before.  It was also nice to see a slave treated well and become a success, despite his inferior status.   My recommended reading age for this is higher than other sites I checked, but I felt that this book would be pretty much lost on a younger audience.  I know my 10 year old would most likely find it boring.  There is also some brutality towards Juan in the beginning and some tragic deaths of his loved ones.

Enjoy!
Becky 

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