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I Am David

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  9,914 ratings  ·  936 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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1963)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,914 ratings  ·  936 reviews

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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.
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.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
An incredibly sensitive and charming book leaving a deep impression , about the voyage across Europe , of David , a boy escaped from a Communist Gulag in Eastern Europe.
Descriptive and insightful.
Particularly beautiful was the illustration of David's relationship with Maria 'the girl who looked like a flower' who David rescues from a fire , in Italy.
A classic for all ages
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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"You can't change others, but you can do something about a fault in yourself."

I Am David by Anne Holm is a very interesting and emotionally powerful story about a young boy. David was born and raised in a prison when one day, he is given a backpack and a few instructions to escape and find his way to Denmark. 

During this time, we follow David's adventure and his thoughts. He is programmed to not trust anyone and to escape as soon as
Christina Getrost
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was captivated by this story when I first read it at the age of 10. It was one of my earliest audio experiences - sitting on the mat in my Grade 5 classroom while Sister Anne Louise read it aloud to the class! Although I'd forgotten a lot of the detail, the basic plot plus some random things like the soap, have stayed with me all this time.

David is a 12 year old boy who has lived in a concentration camp for as long as he can remember. Neither parent is with him, and his closest adult friend
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Sorrow has its life just like people. Sorrow is born and lives and dies. And when its dead and gone, someones left behind to remember it. Exactly like people.....
All suffering has an end, David, if only you wait long enough. Try to remember that.
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'
Elaine Hargrove
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Pat Anderson
Aug 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
The Book Queen
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Juvenile, simplistic and dull. Not a fan.

Full review to come.
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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,
Jan 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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....
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Meg Laff
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: school-books
I usually like historical books but this one was a but boring. 😂
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...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
Jeremy Yong
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, sold, 2008, favorites
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
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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 816 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

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