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Juba!
Cover of Juba!
Juba!
A Novel
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In New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers's last novel, he delivers a gripping story based on the life of a real dancer known as Master Juba, who lived in the nineteenth century.This...
In New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers's last novel, he delivers a gripping story based on the life of a real dancer known as Master Juba, who lived in the nineteenth century.This...
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Description-

  • In New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers's last novel, he delivers a gripping story based on the life of a real dancer known as Master Juba, who lived in the nineteenth century.

    This engaging historical novel is based on the true story of the meteoric rise of an immensely talented young black dancer, William Henry Lane, who influenced today's tap, jazz, and step dancing. With meticulous and intensive research, Walter Dean Myers has brought to life Juba's story.

    The novel includes photographs, maps, and other images from Juba's time and an afterword from Walter Dean Myers's wife about the writing process of Juba!

About the Author-

  • Walter Dean Myers was the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award; a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature; and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He was the author of two Newbery Honor Books and six Coretta Scott King Awardees. He was the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 20, 2015
    Published posthumously, Myers’s final novel is based on the life of Master Juba, born William Henry Lane in Providence, R.I., around 1825, who became a highly successful performer. Peopled by both historical and fictional characters, the book tells the unusual story of a free black man in the 19th century with a gift and passion for dance. So noteworthy that Charles Dickens interviewed and wrote about him, Juba is presented as a thoughtful, proud young man who means well and works hard; Myers gives him a direct and sympathetic voice, depicting the struggles and successes of his short life in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City, and later in London, with warmth and convincing detail. Relationships between blacks and whites are sensitively portrayed, and issues of race are treated frankly, both in dialogue and in Juba’s reflections. Photographs, reproductions of advertisements and reviews of Juba’s performances, and documents such as Juba’s death certificate add atmosphere and authenticity to this rich story; a closing note by Myers’s wife provides background on the author’s research process and distinguishes the historical characters from the fictional. Ages 13–up. Agent: Miriam Altshuler, Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2015

    Gr 6 Up-William Henry Lane, also known as Master Juba, was a famous dancer in America and England in the 1840s. Myers's final novel uses historical sources to piece together a picture of what his life might have been like. Juba grew up a free black man in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City, and his dancing was influenced by the Irish style. He encountered Charles Dickens after an early performance, who subsequently reviewed the dance in his American Notes. Historical images are provided throughout. Unfortunately, the author's choice to make this a first-person narrative makes some aspects of the exposition problematic. Young readers may not understand what minstrel shows were, and the context of the narrative is inadequate to convey why Juba would have been adamant about staying away from this form but ultimately began to participate in it. Richer back matter would have enhanced the overall quality of the book. VERDICT This will have appeal to readers who are interested in the history of dance or the antebellum period of American history.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 15, 2015
    Juba, a freeborn young black man, dreams of making it big as a dancer in antebellum New York City. The late, acclaimed Myers chose the real-life story of William Henry Lane, arguably the most celebrated black performer of the prewar era, as the basis for this historical exploration. Combining extensive research and deft storytelling, Myers chronicles Juba's struggle to perform with superb skill and dignity instead of the degrading "cooning" and blackface that minstrel shows demanded. When the novel opens in 1842, 17-year-old narrator Juba lives "more or less" on his own. Longing for a chance to make a living as a dancer on his own terms, he's adopted a stage name, Master Juba. In the meantime, he works as an assistant to a smoked seafood seller. Through the authentic voices of his characters, Myers re-creates the New York City of the era, where free blacks like Juba coexisted with their equally impoverished white immigrant neighbors, and they faced the ever present threat of being captured and sold into slavery down South. Readers may be impatient with the slow pace of the first half of the novel, but that will give way as Myers' moving prose captures the dizzying speed with which the immensely talented Juba's star eventually rises. Poignant, revealing period fiction about race and art in pre-Civil War America. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    July 1, 2015
    Grades 6-9 Having plumbed the archives for information about the nineteenth-century dancing sensation known as Juba, Myers pieces together a fictionalized account of his extraordinary life in this posthumous novel. Set in the Five Points district of New York City, the story begins with teenager William Henry Lane's dream of becoming a dancer. At a time when slavery is still practiced and black entertainers are expected to clown in minstrel shows, Juba, as he is called, wants to be known for his talent. Dancing with the speed and inventiveness of a young man possessed, he earns a reputation that eventually allows him the opportunity to tour Britain. Juba's passion, determination, and optimismand position as a free manduring a time rife with racial injustice make his story unique. (Note that period-appropriate use of the n-word may prompt classroom or dinner-table discussion.) Vintage illustrations and news clippings, and the incorporation of historic figures, further help to bring him to life. Though Juba meets a sad and premature end, his story offers an intriguing glimpse into America's past. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Among the last books written by the award-winning Myers, who died in 2014, this will surely receive substantial attention and interest from his many fans.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

  • Kirkus Reviews "Myers' moving prose captures the dizzying speed with which the immensely talented Juba's star eventually rises. Poignant, revealing period fiction about race and art in pre-Civil War America."
  • Publishers Weekly "[A] rich story."

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    Amistad
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