The Slave Dancer

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The Slave Dancer
The cover of the first edition of the book, published in 1973
Author Paula Fox
Translator Bruce Davis
Illustrator Eros Keith
Cover artist Eros Keith
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical novel
Publisher Bradbury Press
Publication date
October 1973
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 176 pages
ISBN 0-87888-062-3
OCLC 804264
LC Class PZ7.F838 Sl

The Slave Dancer is a children's book written by Paula Fox and published in 1973.[1][2] It tells the story of a boy called Jessie Bollier who witnessed first-hand the savagery of the African slave trade. The book not only includes a historical account, but it also touches upon the emotional conflicts felt by those involved in transporting the slaves from Africa to other parts of the world. The book received the Newbery Medal in 1974.


The Slave Dancer tells the story of a thirteen-year-old boy named Jesse Ollier. He gets captured at his home in New Orleans and taken to an American ship where he is forced to play his fife so the other slaves can dance and keep their physical strength.

Author's opinion[edit]

Paula Fox expressed that for her The Slave Dancer was the most difficult book she had written so far. Being her first historical book she had difficulty trying to be the most accurate with historical events and the descriptions of the time.


  1. ^ Carr, Jo. "Audiobooks For The Road." Horn Book Magazine 70.4 (1994): 436-438. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
  2. ^ , WENDY S. "A 'Slave Dancer' Born in Brooklyn." New York Times (1923-Current file): 84. Feb 03 1974. ProQuest. Web. 13 Jan. 2016 .
Preceded by
Julie of the Wolves
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
M. C. Higgins, the Great