Based on real life, this book is set in the 1840’s, which is the pre-civil war time period, and is focused on an African American man named Juba. This man has an incredible talent for dancing and can attract huge crowds just from his unique dancing style. However, being a man of color during this time brings him a lot of racial disadvantages and it leads him to not being taken seriously as a performer. Persevering, he travels the world to show people that he is more than just his race and that he has talent that should be respected.
I liked this book because it showed in depth the struggle of a man who actually existed bringing reality into a fiction novel. This made the book more unsettling because the reader has the knowledge that these intense hardships actually happened to someone which makes the book even more intriguing. “Juba!” is written in a way that makes these tough themes easier to understand without making them lose their importance. It leaves the reader impacted and makes them continue thinking about these issues even after you’re done reading.
The most memorable things about this book are the hard moral decisions that Juba is faced with which brings a lot of darkness over the story. He is constantly facing tough choices about how he should get ahead in the world of entertainment which makes it a very riveting journey.
Reviewed by Daniela, 10th Grade, Gayton Library