The Slave Dancer

( 44 )

Overview

One day, thirteen-year-old jessie Bollier is earning pennies playing his fife on the docks of New Orleans; the next, he is kidnapped and thrown aboard a slave ship, where his job is to provide music while shackled slaves "dance" to keep their muscles strong and their bodies profitable. As the endless voyage continues, Jessie grows increasingly sickened by the greed, brutality, and inhumanity of the slave trade, but nothing prepares him for the ultimate horror he will witness before his nightmare ends ? a horror ...

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Overview

One day, thirteen-year-old jessie Bollier is earning pennies playing his fife on the docks of New Orleans; the next, he is kidnapped and thrown aboard a slave ship, where his job is to provide music while shackled slaves "dance" to keep their muscles strong and their bodies profitable. As the endless voyage continues, Jessie grows increasingly sickened by the greed, brutality, and inhumanity of the slave trade, but nothing prepares him for the ultimate horror he will witness before his nightmare ends — a horror that will change his life forever.

Kidnapped by the crew of an Africa-bound ship, a thirteen-year-old boy discovers to his horror that he is on a slaver and his job is to play music for the exercise periods of the human cargo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Spellbinding...will horrify as well as fascinate." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Movingly and realistically presents one of the most gruesome chapters of history." — Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416971399
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 9/16/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 71,368
  • Age range: 11 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.72 (w) x 10.94 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Fox
Paula Fox
After surviving a chaotic childhood in the U.S. and Cuba and giving up her own daughter for adoption at age 20, Paula Fox went on to pen award-winning children's books and a series of acclaimed novels. Today, she is enjoying a kind of literary renaissance as her work is hailed by contemporary writers including Jonathan Franzen.

Biography

Paula Fox is the author of one previous memoir, Borrowed Finery, and six novels, including Desperate Characters, The Widow's Children, and Poor George. She is also a Newbery Award–winning children's book author. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Author biography courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

Good To Know

In our interview, Fox shared some fun facts about herself:

"My first job was working in a dress shop in Los Angeles in 1940, for $7 a week."

"I like to cook; it is, for me, a happy combination of mindlessness and purpose."

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    1. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 22, 1923
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended Columbia University

Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from The Slave Dancer

I heard one piercing scream. My teeth began to chatter.

Then a very small brown face rose above the rail as though it had flown
up from the sea. It continued to rise slowly until its brown bare chest
was visible. Then I saw dark hands around its waist. The hands lifted,
the little girl's legs flew out, and I saw the head of the young man who
had been carrying her.

For a second, she sat on the deck, looking all around her, her eyes huge
with amazement, then she crawled and jumped toward the rail but was forced
back by the forward propulsion of the man who tottered over the rail,
unable, it seemed, to bring his body any further. The child hugged the
young man's neck frantically and buried her face in his hair. At that
moment, Nicholas Spark bent his thin length and gripped the man's back
as though he were gathering up cloth, and yanked him altogether over,
the chains around his ankles striking the deck with a violent clanging.
The clanging never ceased as one after another the captives struggled
over the rail and were dropped or dragged onto the deck. How long did
it all take? I'll never know. None of us moved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    good.

    this book is good. but i was forced to read it so maybe thats why i wasnt crazy for it. but the last paragraph in the book is one that haunts you and in the good way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This review is over _The Slave Dancer_ by Paula Fox.

    _The Slave Dancer_ was a very heart felt story about a little boy Jessie. Jessie is kidnapped and put on a slave ship where he plays music so the slaves can dance to build muscles. This is truly a sad fictional story based on real events in history. It really makes you think about things that have happened in history. The story and characters are well thought out and written. This book is also a Newbery Award winning recipiant. Be aware if reading this in the classroom there is violence, nude slaves, drinking, and cruel behavior to the slaves by the sailors. I don't think this book should not be read to studens under the age of 11.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2009

    Nice Music

    The story The Slave Dancer was a really good book, I had only heard of Paula Fox a few times, but after reading this wonderful book, I can¿t wait to read another one. I look forward to reading another one of her books, and I can be pretty sure that it will be good, just as this one was. <BR/><BR/>With every twist and turn, with every turned page, with every chapter read, I have to say this is almost the best book I have ever read. I give Paula Fox¿s book, The Slave Dancer, two and a half thumbs up.<BR/><BR/>Chase down the rats so they don¿t eat up the boat, when you catch them, throw them overboard. The directions were given, a kid that was kidnapped by to sailors, because he could play the five with tremendous skill. Placed on this ship he is not only forced to kill rats but to deal with abuse from the captain, he is forced to work, even though he was also forced to come aboard the ship in the first place.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2005

    great book

    i don't like to read but this book was one of the best i have read. i could not get out of my seat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2012

    The Slave Dancer had many haracters,but the main character was a

    The Slave Dancer had many haracters,but the main character was a little colored boy he plays a pipe and gfets taken in a Black Market by Pirates.The setting is in an ocean on a boat with four other colored boys.......i would defenantly recommend this book to people my age and up.In the beginning it is very heartrending.The author goes into detail. While i am reading this book i can just picture what this little boy is going through.

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    Very moving, check it out!

    The Slave Dancer is a graphic and emotional book about slave trading in the south. The book entails a young thirteen year old boy growing up in New Orleans with his mother and sister. Jessie is very curious when it comes to the slave market. His mother warns him to steer clear of the slave market no matter how intriguing it is. Of course being a young curious boy he does not listen to the wise words of his mother. One day Jessie goes to his aunt¿s house to borrow some candles, on his way home he is kidnapped and taken onto a ship. Jessie witnesses the horror and violence on the ship. He saw everything the slaves went through and what he was so fascinated by before being kidnapped. He got an up close and personal experience of how slaves were treated.
    This book is slightly graphic and gives detail of the hardship of the slave trade. It is very scary to see in writing how horrible the world use to be and how horrible people were to whom they thought were less worthy. This book is for a more mature reader and one should know what kind of book they are getting into. This book is great for showing how difficult the past was for slaves and what they had to go through. I think it gives people a different perspective on slavery because of the graphic detail in the book.

    bc3301

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    A little slow

    It was a good book but it was a little slow and could be boring at times, although it really showed the horrors of the slave trade.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    monkey girl

    the book was ok it was very depressing and sad but very interesting like explaining the pirate boat just the way the author wrote it is unbelivable.If you like depressing and sad but interesting this is the book for you jump in the car and go to barnes and nobles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2007

    A window to a different world than you might know

    Her style of writing, her command of the English language, and the visuals appearing within my mind as she described the setting of the ancient ship pulled me in with a compulsion that would not let me put the novel down. The illustrations were visually captivating. I would recommend this book to anyone capable of putting preconceived notions and opinions aside long enough to take a trip beyond the normal comfort zone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2007

    HORRIBLE

    It was one of the worst books I have read. I usually like reading about the Underground Railroad but this book was just-bad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2007

    very depressing

    The book was very well written but seriously depressing. Plus it was very cruel. Maybe some of the things in the book they did do to slaves back in the day, but this book is NOT for children. I don't even know how its a childrens book. Its so cruel and sad. I would never read this book again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    I thought this would be REALLY boring...but it WASN'T!!!!

    Oh my gosh, my 6th grade teacher made us read this over winter break, and I know that i thought,'BORING!!!' But man was I WRONG, wait...nevermind, it WAS really boring, EXTRAVAGANTLY BORING!!!I did NOT like it, PLUS now our teacher is making us read MORE slave books...but this one HAD to introduce us to the 'Slave' stuff we are learning bout...yeah...me and my class are pretty 'excited' to learn about stuff like 'the Slave Dancer' the WORST book ever!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    The Slave Dancer

    The slave dancer is one of the worst books i have ever read! its really boring! i would NEVER recomenned it to anyone with a brain

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2006

    horrible book

    the book is so corny. the book was boring. I don't recomend this book to anybody.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006

    A Powerful Story

    The Slave Dancer is a story told through the eyes of a young white boy who was kidnapped and made to work on a slave ship. He tells of the brutal and inhuman living conditions and treatment of the slaves and the crew as well. It is an eye opener and graphic. Except for the cruel captain, all were enslaved in some way: the slaves, the crew, and the boy. All have suffered loss. I personally do not like to be entertained by the cruelty and suffering of others however, this story was educating and I have learned.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2006

    It was kind of horrible

    First of all who names their book the slave dancer...I hadn't even read it and sounded like a racist book!When I did read it I was disappointed and bored. I'd rather have read Tom Clancy books and the Da Vinci Code.It doesn't deserve 2 stars but I'll give it out of pity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2006

    Slave Dancer

    I felt this story was a good book to read. I admit there were times I would moan and groan, wishing for the story to end. But in the end, it was okay. Not the type of book I'd normally read, but hey, there's always a first for everything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2005

    wow this is an amazing book

    wow this ws such an amazing book I really loved that it explained how the slaves were treated and how they got accross the sea. Jessie's charater was just like me so I thought that was cool. This is one of the best books I have read this year. My teacher reccommended it to me and i just thought that it was a great choice. Paula Fox needs to have a follow up or somethign on this book. My mom even read it and said that she liked it. I would recommend this book to every one who likes adventure and history. I would not like to recommend this book to any one who doesnt like to be bored because this book at the beginning was really boring and actually you dont read any actoin untill you get to the ending chapters. So everyone read this book and you will feel the same way that i do. Thanks very much i really like to live with a lot of reading experiance so i would hope that everyone had the time to read this book or any other books. So go to barnes and Noble today and buy this book love yall lots!!!!!*&^Still in Training*&^!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    Slave Dancer

    This book was amazing i think everyone should read it because it has a lot of adventure and quotes that leave you hanging and you want to find out what happens I coule barely put it down and i just kept reading and reading. Although i had to read it for a book report i really enjoied it. Next year if we have more book reports i will encourage everyone to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    Slave Dancer

    I loved this book although that this book was a little boring at the beginning this was an amazing book. I reccommend this book to any one who likes the adventures of slaves and how they experianced getting accross to Spain or some where and how one person held compassion for all those slaves.everyone should read this book because it is so cool. Remember the one thing that we all need Everyone is equal and no one should be discriminated by their race, religion, or any thing else.

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