When Adrienne suggested we read a classic this month, many choices came to mind. I decided on: I, Juan de Pareja simply because I've read it at least three times and I will do so at least once again.
Since we are homeschoolers, there are several books which I choose to read to the children aloud. This is one of them. Since the kids are at different levels, I have read it to them separately and there is still one daughter waiting her turn. (Many of you are thinking I'm crazy at this point but I actually enjoy reading it to them on an individual basis. We always have great discussions.)
I love history and this book focuses on the time period of slavery in Spain during the seventeenth century. Juan de Pareja is a slave working for a famous painter, Velazquez. He is loyal and faithful to the family for many years and begins to learn a love of painting. He believes he has talent and wants to be a painter himself but slaves are forbidden to paint.
The chapters follow this great family through many turbulent (and a few exciting) years and we are able to watch the friendship between master and slave develop. I am always taken by the closeness and confiding relationship of the two main characters. This story offers talent, romance, bravery, loyalty, sadness and loss, and years of devotion.
I, Juan de Pareja is a very touching story. It continues to stay with me over the years and already I am looking forward to reading it again. Although the story is just a story, it is based on the few known facts of these two real men. I hope you will read it and not shy away since I've mentioned it as somewhat of a children's book. It was written in 1965 and received a Newberry Medal award. If you do happen to get around to reading it, let me know what you think. It's one of my all-time favorites.
**On a side note: I missed posting my Turn the Page Tuesday last month as I was out gallivanting in the south trying to warm up my cold body from last winter in northern Illinois. I hate to promise something and then not fulfill it so the post intended for last month is directly below. I hope you'll take the time to read it as I enjoyed the book and thought myself very clever for combining the book subject with the object taking all of my free time that month. I often get a bit proud of myself and then quickly fall flat on my face. Last month was no exception. God likes to keep me humble.