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I Am David Paperback – January 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152051600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152051600
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The single finest novel ever written for children of about ages 9 to 13."
--School Library Journal

"Read it, read it!"--The Horn Book

"Extraordinary and unforgettable."--Chicago Tribune

About the Author

ANNE HOLM (1922-1998) was born in Denmark, and she began her writing career as a journalist. I Am David was originally published--under the title David--in Denmark, where it became a million-copy bestseller and received numerous awards.

Customer Reviews

I read this book to my 5th graders.
Anthony Wilson
I liked this first person perspective and the story moved quickly.
It is a very good read, and as a young adult book excellent.
Sandy Hamilton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By J. LEE on December 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Despite being brought up in a prison concentration camp surrounded only by adults who were deceptive or broken down, save for a few genuine inmates who seemed to be hiding a secret from him, twelve-year old David is a kind person by nature who feels a strong need to help people without asking for any returns, although he does not consciously know all the time that by doing so, he is performing acts of kindness.

After escaping from the concentration camp, David proceeds with his arduous journey towards the free country of Denmark always insisting on remaining true to himself, and keeping a clear conscience - simply put, he is determined to remain as he is and who he has always been - David.

The beauty of this story lies in the way that it does not directly tell of the courage of David, but simply portrays him as yet another human being who is confused about the happenings around him but who is nevertheless determined to attain complete freedom away from the evils of that concentration camp. In the process of describing the various events that he encounters, the author uses the contrast of the other characters' thoughts and feelings to fully reflect the implicit courage and beauty of David's noble character. This greatly increases the realism and credibility of David's character, and would in short, be one of the most remarkable strokes of bringing a character to life.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Stephen W. Barns on February 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
My 10 year old son and I read to one another and I chose "I am David" because it is being made into a movie. It is quite simply the best children's novel I have ever read.

The story follows David from his life in a eastern European concentration camp to freedom in Denmark. Along the way David learns self reliance, finds faith in the God of "the still waters and green pastures," discovers love, compasion and friendship. Through the book, David transforms from a victim to a human. I can't remember the last time I cried reading a book, but I did several times with this.

If you want a book to teach a kid about self respect, love, forgiveness,and faith this is the book for you. If you don't want a book that teaches these things it is one heck of a story.

This book is also published under the title "North to Freedom"
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved the book I am David. The book tells you to appreciate what you have. Even the little things that we take for granted such as a supply of food, a family, love, a bath or shower when you need it, warmth, and even school! All the things we take for granted David was without and desperately wanted and needed. David thought and lived so differently then us it was always interesting to see what David would think or do next.

David is a twelve-year-old boy who starts out living in a horrible concentration camp. He is sent there when he is a baby. David had no family except a fellow prisoner by the name of Johannes who was to act as a father to David, teaching him things he doesn't know. When Johannes drops dead, leaving David all alone, David is depressed and doesn't talk to anyone. Until one day when the guard who had always been ill to him, gave David a chance to escape. He tells David to go to Denmark where he would find freedom. On David's journey to Denmark he comes upon some interesting, but nice, people. One day he comes upon a Danish lady who shows David a picture of her friend.

She said that the lady and her family were arrested and brought to a concentration camp. The man was killed, the lady spared, and the baby boy was token away and neither the lady nor herself ever saw David again.

David knew she was talking about him and his Mom and Dad, but the Danish women did not. So David had a mission, to find his mother. The woman had said she was in Denmark. David finds that he is David, not a concentration camp prisoner. He learns how to love, to smile, and to play. David learns that life is good and worth living, that death is not good. David Learns to live with out the hope of dieing.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chrissy K. McVay VINE VOICE on March 31, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a compelling story of a twelve year old boy who has spent his impressionable years in a concentration camp. No one knows why he's there, or what happened to his parents, except for the people who imprisoned him. David doesn't even really know why a guard who seems to hate him had suddenly helped him escape and told him to find his way to Denmark. David knows nothing of the outside world except for a few details he's overheard from the other prisoners. But he's quick to learn and has been exposed to many different languages inside the camp. He trusts no one, and has few interaction skills with other people. Strangers who meet him are often suspicious. David quickly realizes he must try to learn how to smile and fit in so he can make his long journey without being caught and returned to 'them' at the concentration camp.

Though listed as juvenile fiction, this is a 'must read' for adults as well.

Chrissy K. McVay

author of 'Souls of the North Wind'
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Boman on October 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story has so many great literary elements: mystery, danger, adventure, moral themes (justice/human rights issues), emotional highs and lows, not to mention the educational value of understanding the effects of communism and the plight of refugees...but for me the most beautiful element was the process by which David learned to trust God.

I saw the movie first, and was greatly moved, which led me to read the book. There is some difference between the two--part of the role of Jim Caviezel's character in the movie is accomplished in the book by another unlikely character towards the end. Also in the movie the identity of the person helping David escape is not revealed till the end, whereas in the book it's established from the beginning, but the mystery there (in the book) is "why" this person helped him. Besides the relatively few story changes from book to movie, the book places you "inside" David's head, whereas in the movie you are an outside observer of his circumstances.

Being "inside" David's head allows you to share in more of his thoughts and feelings. The theme of understanding God's character and love for David was very powerfully accomplished in the book. When David loses his compass, he begins to feel hopeless and realizes his need for "outside" help, for which he turns to God. This is such an interesting and beautiful process because he has very limited knowledge of God. All he knows is a small bit of information given to him by Johannes, his late friend and mentor from the camp. Johannes had once told David that a long time ago there was another boy named David who wrote songs about his God and that his God led to green pastures and beside still waters.
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