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!
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.