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3.28  ·  Rating details ·  309 ratings  ·  82 reviews
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 st
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Amistad
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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 ·  309 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Wonderful and tragic story about William Henry Lane, known as Master Juba, a young African American man who was a gifted dancer. He lived and died in the 1800s, was passionate about dancing and was tremendously talented.
Very good historical fiction novel about William Henry Lane, better known as Master Juba or "Boz's Juba", set in the early 1800s. Juba was a black dancer who Charles Dickens wrote about after seeing him perform in New York. (Boz was a name du plume that Dickens sometimes used when writing articles for the papers.) Juba would later go on to travel to London to pursue his dream of having others see him dance.

The secondary characters (Margaret, Stubby, Jack, Sara, and many others) each had their ow
Book Riot Community
There are a bunch of wonderful novels out today steeped in historic events, this one being among the best. Myers tells the story of William Henry Lane, a young black dancer credited with influencing today's tap, jazz, and step dancing. Myers extensively researched Lane, known on stage as Master Juba, to bring to life an often-overlooked artist. Sadly, this is Myer's last novel, as he passed away in 2014. If you've never read him before, Juba! is a great place to start.

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J L's Bibliomania
Middle-grade or YA Historical fiction. Adequate novelization of the story of African-American dancer William Henry Lane (aka Master Juba) in the first half of the 1800's in New York City. Juba's claim to fame came because of his chance encounter with Charles Dickens, and the subsequent review in Dicken's American Notes. Juba danced in England in the 1850's. It didn't turn out well in the end, but I'll let you read the book to find out why.

In some ways the excerpts from historical documents are
Nicole Perry
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This was interesting to read knowing that it is based on a real person in history. I had never heard about Juba, he seems to be one of those interesting characters who has gotten lost in history. The writing was kind of plain, but it made for an easy read.
Interesting life of "Boz's Juba" (William Henry Lane), a young black dancer who, in the 1840s, helped to create tap dancing by blending Irish jigs & reels with African rhythms.

Brandon Gill does a decent narration, though at times when he was doing English voices, his accent wavered.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Dramatically Bookish (ReviewsMayVary)
3.5 stars, like most books based on real events. I am counting this book for the Read Harder Book about Sports, because dancing definitely counts!
Dec 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this one. Give me a nonfiction about the REAL Juba and you might have kept my attention, but the story was slow and didn't keep me interested. There wasn't the signature 'character connection' that I typically feel with Myers' characters a la Monster, Fallen Angels, Dope Sick, or Sunrise Over Fallujah.

I'd venture that this wasn't complete when Walter Dean Myers passed, but nearly enough so that someone thought it best to publish it.

Points for an engaging cover and the topic, but it
Roberta Almeida
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully written and throughly researched hist fic book about William Henry Lane (Master Juba) who was a black dancer (credited to have influenced jazz and tap dance) and entertainer in 1850's NYC and London.
And as much as it's about his career and life choices and struggles it's also about overcoming barriers and understanding a whole new world.
It's a really fast read and so so enjoyable!!
It's also Meyer's last book as he passed away in 2014.
Carol Baldwin
Writing historical fiction is hard. You read shelves full of books, study documents, interview experts, ponder maps, photographs, and data. You work really hard to insert authentic details (what color dress would she have worn to the dance? What did he eat for lunch? What bus would she have taken to work?) and then plunge forward to create as authentic a character as possible.

But when you're writing a story about a young man who lived over a hundred and fifty years ago to whom you want to pay tr
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Myers was the multi-award winning writer of the classic YA novel Monster (1999) which, if you have not read it, you should right now. He is an African American who wrote about exploited youth and injustice and in Juba, his last novel, he turns from his contemporary American city characters to base his story on his historical research of an African American dancer, Juba, who became famous as “Boz's Juba” after Charles Dickens saw him perform in New York in 1852 when Dickens was so impressed that ...more
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a book I would never have come across had I not been sent a copy by Harper360, and as soon as I received it I started reading as it sounded so different from anything I'd usually read.
Based upon the life of William Henry Lane, "Juba" who was a black dancer in the mid 1800's, this story is fascinating.
The way the author describes the dancing is wonderful, I could clearly picture Juba and the other performers as they moved across the stages they were on. Each character was well drawn, and
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sync-ya, history
This was fine, if dry. It seemed a lightly-sketched fictional take on Juba's life. I have to wonder if there's a dearth of historical data or if Myers wasn't able to put as much detail as he wanted into it. Either way, it's skimpy on the details, minus an excruciating blow by blow of a show that Juba puts together early on, and worse somehow how fails to make a connection to how much he influenced dance.
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel somewhat sad that this was Myers' last offering - not to say that it's bad, I just wish he'd had time for one more contemporary read. This book, however, is poignant for more reasons than as Myers' last, however - and good for a younger reader as well, though the n* word is used, appropriately for the historical time period, a few times.
I just didn't connect with this one. I have a feeling I was missing some things by listening to the audio as opposed to reading the book, although the audiobook narrator was entertaining to listen to.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018challenge
This review has more to do with the audiobook than it does with the story. I probably would have awarded the book more stars if I had read the book instead of listening to it.

I started listening to audiobooks more than a decade ago. They help me save time, because I can listen to a book while I'm driving; but more importantly, a good narrator adds an extra dimension to a well-written book. One of the disadvantages is that it's easy to miss important details in the narration.

I totally missed tw
A nice, short, historical-fiction read about the life of William Henry Lane, or Juba, a young African-American man who loved dance and wanted to practice it as an art form. Though his life is short, it is fascinating and I was surprised I hadn't heard of him before picking up this book, especially since he caught the attention of Charles Dickens and was even mentioned by Dickens in one of his books, "American Notes."

Myers really captured the spirit and passion of Juba for dance and for making m
Liberty Scott
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I checked this out at my local library. It was a book that said-“I have never been checked out.” Easy read. Narrative of a young African American man in the mid 1800’s. Location of story is New York and London. A story that uses perceived slang and words of the time that are not approved for everyday speaking in today’s vernacular. Yes, the N word is used.

Not sure about the historical accuracy and a lot was embellished to fill in gaps of timeline. Irish and African Americans working side by sid
i enjoyed this!! this was a quick audiobook read (~5 hours) and i finished it in one day because of a long car ride. i feel like this book started out pretty strong but i got less invested toward the finish. around the 60%-70% point of this book, i fell asleep a few times and had to keep rewinding. this was really because i had gotten like 5 hours asleep, but the entertainment quality at that point in the book was still a factor.

i think the highlight of this book was the commentary on blackface
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to for giving this audio book away during their YA summer reading program.

I really enjoyed listening to Juba. It was well written and extremely entertaining. It was realistic - and that made it very relatable and personal. While the ending had me crying, it was reality and what happened.

I truly enjoyed learning about the life of Juba and knowing that this novel was based on the true story of Master Juba and his influences on what we know today about dance made the n
An interesting true story of a dancer from New York - a free black man in a country where he could be grabbed off the street and sold into slavery. This happened to a friend of his, and encouraged his staying on in England after his tour there ended. While much of Juba's story is pleasant, the dangers and difficulties of his life are very sad, especially in light of the current racial unrest in America. It's heartbreaking to realize how the deep seated ideas of racial superiority have poisoned o ...more
Casey Quick
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an interesting novelization of the life of William Henry Lane, (aka "Juba") who is a young African American dancer trying to make his way in New York City in the 1840s. It is fascinating that Myers was able to create this story from real artifacts about Lane's life, including newspaper clippings, posters and the writings of Charles Dickens. I enjoy that he gives voice to a strong character who may be unknown to many, but who showed extraordinary talent and courage in the face of great ad ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I never knew what direction this book was going to go next! I listened to it on Playaway, and Brandon Gill's voice is a delight. A must-listen for people who love to dance! Juba's constant desire to do nothing but dance, and the frustrations at the roadblocks in his way, felt as real to me as if they were happening to a friend.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This was okay, I thought the narrative was a little choppy in places.

Summary: In Five Points, New York, in the 1840s, African American teenager William Henry "Juba" Lane works hard to achieve his dream of becoming a professional dancer but his real break comes when he is invited to perform in England. Based on the life of Master Juba; includes historical note.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun little historical fiction piece about a black dancer and his quest for stardom. Spanning continents and illustrating the turbulent antebellum era and sentiments, this is a great read for students studying race relations and the Civil War.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
IT was a story, with much heart yet balnd use of Languege. I myself did not enjoy the book as much as I thought I would when I picked it up. I think the book might do with younger readers, but losses its touch once you pass as a teen.
Engaging writing and a decent story if you're into overcoming adversary and "I just want to ~dance!~" stories. Interesting in that it's a fictionalized account of a real person. But aside from piquing my interest on Dickens' book about America, I found it unremarkable.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm glad to know about this minor character in history. He deserved a better career but I'm glad he's still remembered. I wish I could have seen him dance.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Three stars as a youth book. Elementary/Middle school age.
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Stacie Williams
Stacie Johnson

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
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