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I Am David

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,703 ratings  ·  835 reviews
David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some v ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published 1976 by Puffin Books (first published 1963)
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Chris Horsefield
In chapter three David learns that there is a Queen in England. That sets the book in a time of 1953 or later.
Were there still concentration camps in Eastern Europe?
Many reviewers feel the Nazi's were the guards, well that can't be in 1953. The story was well good enough, nothing spectacular, I struggled to give it 3 stars.
With so many good YA WW2 novels around I would not recommend it, it was a little boring. Sorry just telling how I read it.

I loved this book when I was a kid. When I reread it a while back as an adult, I found it less believable, but still a very good story.
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone over 10
I had first seen this movie and had a feeling the book would be great also. Although the plots differed more than I thought they would, I thoroughly enjoyed both the movie and the book. In the book, I liked how you get more insight into David's thoughts. He is a remarkable boy, to say the least.

It is a young adult novel and I think the author took some liberties with the plot that adults won't "buy". I liked the way they "fixed" that in the movie. All in all, I would highly recommend both the bo
A young boy escapes from a concentration camp somewhere in "eastern Europe" and walks and hitchhikes his way to Denmark. He's lived his whole life in camp so he doesn't know anything about the outside world, doesn't even know about money or how to eat properly at a table. he prays to a "god of rivers and streams" and is afraid of being caught by "them." He's totally clueless, yet manages to survive this whole long journey, despite getting captured again. And then a bizarre coincidence at the end ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Finally! A superb book landed in my hands!! I was completely mesmerized and utterly clinging to the story's journey, especially on the last 10 pages. I tell ya, David would be a great poster boy for integrity. I loved his character development. Too good to be true as he may be, the walk of his life was a message of love, life, and prospect. Brilliant!

I agree with The Horn Book, "Read it, read it!". Be warned though, brace your heart.

My quote-ables:
"I don't know anything! How can I stay free wh
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Am David is a great book to read. It is a story about a little boy who has been in a concentration camp his whole life. David had one friend there named Johannes. Johannes helps him to learn stuff he needs. David loved Johannes alot but in camp if you were very smart you would be put to death. When David is offered a chance to escape he takes it. David struggles with the outer world, David wants to learn about the outer world but he is scared to talk to people. David has never talked or played ...more
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elaine Hargrove
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I read was actually entitled, "North to Freedom" with a copyright date of 1963, but it was the same book. I enjoyed this book very much. It is not an action story; it is a psychological story; don't look for plot. This is all about character.

Because David grew up in a concentration camp, he knew little socially or culturally of the outside world, but because of conditions in the camp, he had had the opportunity to learn several different languages and had been taught manners and a degre
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
Extraordinarily elegant and humane

Anne Holm's 'I am David' is an wonderful achievement - mixing beautiful humanity and acute perceptiveness of humans' soul, both good and bad, with the harsh reality of the world. The book is seen through David's eyes, a boy who has escaped a concentration camp he was bought up in and is now adapting and learning about the 'real' world. David's young age is in sharp contrast to his world-view and experience - a detail Holm continuously reminds us through adults'
Pamela  Anderson
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David, a 12 year old, raised in a prison camp, is allowed to escape with instructions to go north to freedom. From the drab, depressing surroundings of the prison camp to the wide world of freedoms, colors, smells, scenery, being clean, and being honest, David cautiously learns about the world around him. This book is a learning adventure at becoming true to one's self. At an early age, this book had a profound effect on my life, David made me stop and appreciate the little things that are such ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who have read, or are about to read Anne Frank
Recommended to Daleb. by: Found it while looking for something to read at the Deer Park Jr. High library after lunch one day in the 7th or 8th grade
I first read this book under it's American released title of North To Freedom way back in Jr. High (in the 7th/'72'-'73'/or 8th/'73'-'74/grade) a little less than 10 years After it's American debute in 1965.
At the time i imagined it was a W.W.II story not really knowing alot about the post war world or the whole cold war mess i grew up in. It is Obvious Now, reading it 37 or 39 years later, that it Was indeed a post war story.
Parts of it made me cry again all these years later (something i would
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Allison by: My 6th Grader's Summer 2011 Reading List
Shelves: 1001-cbymrbygu
I was really disappointed in this book because I made the mistake of actually reading the reviews that were plastered all over the cover before I read the book. The main problem I have with I Am David is the lack of background information for the setting. It would have been an exponentially better experience for me if there had been a Prologue or Introduction that would have explained the setting in time and place.

I found myself wondering throughout the entire novel: where EXACTLY did David's j
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-reports
"I am David." Along with being the story's title, it is also the most repeated phrase in this book. How can we actually find who we are? David proved that even through suffering the hardest trials we can still have enjoyable experiences and learn that life can really be good, we just have to find the good ourselves. Anne Holm outdid herself in this brilliant and touching novel.

12-year old David escapes a concentration camp after being held prisoner his whole life. After seeing the same scenes,
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
We read this crap excuse for a book for a Honors Language Arts study and my only comfort? It will end eventually. David is a boring protagonist who is unrelatable in any way and while he does have a excuse for being devoid of and personality which is being raised in a concentration camp but if it takes so long for him to develop any traits at all (which he dosent) then don`t write about him. Also Anne Holm was attemting shove a bunch of months and events into 180 pages it was like trying to shov ...more
Pat Anderson
Aug 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this as a reader for a group of ten-year-olds and started to read it myself before I gave it to them. I only read about half of it and gave up in disgust. Needless to say I never gave it to the children. In essence it is not really a story; more an exercise in anti-Soviet Union propaganda. We are never told why David is in the gulag; the implication being that children are banged up for nothing in Eastern Bloc countries.

David escapes to the West, where everyone has plenty of food an
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
David's entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly concentration camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. Sensing his enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crumbs of bread, his two aching feet and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?
David is a dynamic character. He thinks of danger a lot and
The Book Queen
Juvenile, simplistic and dull. Not a fan.

Full review to come.
Loved this movie and so when I found out it was based off of a book I had to read it. Come to find out the book is a young adults novel so it was a really easy read, but that doesn't mean it's not filled with emotion and important situations. When it comes to whether I like the book better or the movie I think it's about 50/50. I liked the fact that in the book you know everything that David is thinking because it's narrated by him, you really find out how he feels about things and why he is the ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The story follows young David from his life in a eastern European concentration camp to freedom, traveling through Italy, Switzerland, Germany to Denmark. Despite the rigors of life in a prison concentration camp, abandoned by his mother and seeing his only friend die, David is a kind person by nature who feels compelled to help people without asking for anything in return, although he does not consciously know all the time that by doing so, he is performing acts of kindness. His valiant effort ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of Heidi's books recommended for teen book club....I loved it and will consider it.
Reread for teen club this Thursday, 9/27/12....very good!!!!! Should be great for our discussion....
This book was written over 50 years ago by an author who felt like kids needs literature that made them think and this was a good book for this purpose. Even though he's escaped from a concentration camp it's definitely a book you could read with kids.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Am David by Anne Holm is a fast paced page turning adventure. The Main character is David. He is thirteen years old or so he thinks. As far as he knows he has spent his life in the camp that was made by the Nazis. In just sixty pages he escaped from a camp, he ran for days and nights, he stowed away on a ship, and he ended up in Italy. In Italy he tried to learn about the ways people live in Italy. He then overheard some citizens talking about him and saying they were going to ask some questio ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gut-wrenching. Heart-warming. Gripping.

I Am David is a fil adaptaion of the novel by Anne Holm "North to Freedom". It shows the spiritual journey of discovery where, a twelve-year old boy David gradually loses his mistrust of humanity and beginds to smile, share, and eventually love.

Seven years after the World War II, David is an escapee from the concentration camp in Bulgaria. He sets our on a risky journey to Denmark, initially believing he is on an important mission to deliver a letter, but e
Jeremy Yong
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeremy Yong
Ms. Gondek

I Am David is a gripping novel of a young boy's grueling experience during the Holocaust. Whenever I read books of tragedies in the past, I feel morally crushed whenever I force myself to endure a book of the Holocaust. David, the protagonist, has been in a concentration camp in Eastern Europe for his entire twelve-year old life. Just that statement makes me cringe, how since even as a young boy, he was forced to suffer in the concentration camp. Though David
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, favorites, 2008, sold
This was an amazing book! As it was never translated into Czech language I got never the chance to read it as a child. Well, it would probably be impossible to have such a chance as we have been such a country, where David run away from, so to have such a book beeing published here would be impossible. I truly understand David, although I never been into such a camp. But, who knows maybe it was not a Communist CC, as it is not mentioned exactly in the book, but why to lie to myself... It is not ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
WOW!!! I am David is a very well-written, captivating and very thought provoking story of David, a 12-year-old boy who is mysteriously given instructions about when and how to "escape" a concentration camp during World War II. David has only known life within the barricade of this hell hole, but now he's given a mission by someone he's only ever known as his captor. Along with the instructions as to the escape, David is provided with a compass, a knife, a bottle of wter, some brea, a letter of i ...more
Kayleb Barlow
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I Am David is about a boy that is sepparated with his family. David is put into a concentration camp as a young boy. One of the guards helps him run away without being seen. David succeeds but he now has no were to live he was too young to remember his mom, and he doesn't know his way. Nazi's track him down and get close numerous times of catching him.

The books like they say are always better than the movie. The book has scene were he is slepping in the tall grass and he heres the germans walki
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I probably should have read this book earlier since it's more for sec age I guess. Simple, but very meaningful story. About the cruelties of life, and about hope and love and what makes this world beautiful, and about doing things yourself, about keeping true to your identity.

I think it teaches a lot. It brings awareness to the "God of green pastures and still waters" - how strong God is, and how kind He is. It teaches you not to take for granted your family - the plight of a child who has "see
Danielle Wilson
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the memories 12 year old David holds are of his life in a concentration camp. He'd been there since he was a very small child and had known no other night. One night, a guard (and man he hates) tells him how to escape and get to freedom. If David listens he has the opportunity to be free - but what if this is just another sick game on the guards' part? This is only the first decision of many David must make on his journey north to freedom.

I'm definitely going to recommend this to some of
Amy Westgarth
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I first read this as a young teen and remember being very touched by David's journey and the difficulties he faced along the way.

Reading again as an adult and being more aware of the WWII context, it's easy to see that the book presents a rather simplistic view – though still a worthwhile introduction for younger readers to this time period.

Many of the events that happen to David after his escape are far-fetched. I doubt he would really have been able to complete the journey had this been a tr
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Anne Holm, born Else Anne Lise Jørgensen (September 10, 1922 – December 27, 1998) was a Danish journalist and children's writer. At times she also wrote under the pseudonym Adrien de Chandelle.

Her books are typically recommended to age groups 8–16 years, but they include elements even for adult readers. Her best known book is I Am David (1963), adapted for a 2003 film; (also published as North to
“And his eyes frighten me, too. They're the eyes of an old man, an old man who's seen so much in life that he no longer cares to go on living. They're not even desperate... just quiet and expectant, and very, very lonely, as if he were quite alone of his own free choice.” 25 likes
“Johannes had once said that violence and cruelty were just a stupid person's way of making himself felt, because it was easer to use your hands to strike a blow than to use your brain to find a logical and just solution to the problem.” 16 likes
More quotes…