I, Juan de Pareja

  • by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
  • Narrated by Johanna Ward
  • 4 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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!
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- Ralph


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?


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.

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- Bill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-04-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.