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Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

posted Oct 27, 2014, 8:22 AM by scole@kisd.org
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When I first read the description for the novel Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, I immediately thought of the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez. This is a portrait of the Infanta Margarita, the daughter of King Philip IV (of Spain), and his second wife Mariana of Austria. The infanta is the little blonde girl in the middle.  On the left you see Velazquez himself and in the back you see the king and queen reflected in the mirror.  You also see members of the Infanta's entourage and notably featured toward the front you see a female little person. 

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Little people were often seen at court and their roles ranged from amusement to beloved companions.  They were often the butt of jokes and received very cruel treatment.  Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the late 16th century.  As a teenager, Jepp (a little person) is taken from the only home he has ever known and placed at court.  Sheltered for most of his life, he soon becomes aware that life at court is not as grand as it seems.  He finds himself being treated as less than human and when his friend is assaulted he makes a decision to escape.  Unfortunately, his plans go awry and he is banished to a kingdom far away from everything and everyone he knows.  His new circumstance seems dire at first, but Jepp soon learns that if he wants his station to improve he must take matters into his own hands.  I read this novel in about two days.  I enjoyed it very much and it kept my attention from the beginning.  It has adventure, mystery, history, and romance all woven into the story.  I would highly recommend it to KHS students.  For more information about this book, please see the author's website.

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