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.


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