Re-read / I Am David

i-am-davidI am David // by Anne Holm (1963)

This is the story of a boy who escapes a concentration camp and journeys through Europe in search of his long lost mother. As the book says, David is a strange child. He doesn’t understand the ways of living in freedom. He doesn’t know anything except the life of the concentration camp, and only what his friend and protector told him. But he a quick learner.

My favourite scenes are when he meets the family of Maria. It’s an exciting introduction as it involves a rescue from a burning building! And while I like Maria, the best part of this section, to my mind, involves Carlos. David actually meets up with Carlos earlier in the story, and it’s not a pretty meeting. So much so, David actually hates Carlos and compares him to them (i.e. the Soviet guards). David has such a fear of them (and rightly so!), that he cannot see any hope for Carlos. But this is the storyline where David grows the most.

I read this book for school when I was in the seventh grade. I don’t think I really understood it back then. Re-reading this book gave me a greater appreciation for this classic. One thing to note: Because it was written so many years ago (and also, originally, in Danish), the pace is slower than most modern books. [4.5 stars]


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

14 thoughts on “Re-read / I Am David

  1. Thanks for for sharing your review. This is the second time this book has come up for me. It has been on my bookshelves for a long time, but got lost in the among the other books. Pandemic shelf cleaning and your review has it on the forefront of my TBR pile now.

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  2. I’ve not read this but do remember the title and book cover. Once libraries open I will be tracking down a copy for some summer reading. The time period and main character have me hooked. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

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  3. No I haven’t read this book, but I’m intrigued about a Soviet concentration camp. I would have been 12 when it was published. I’m not sure of the time frame for the book. Most of what I’ve read related to before 1917 and the treatment of Jews, the killing of the Romanoff family and the revolution, Stalin etc. Will check into this one further.

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    • The time frame is a little vague. From what I can guess is that it’s post-WWII. So, maybe the 1950s? There’s a movie that came out some years back that’s based on the book and I think they set it in the early 1950s. (Good movie, by the way.)


  4. How neat that you re-read this book and got a better appreciation for it! It definitely sounds like a great story. Thanks for the great post!

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  5. Like you, I distinctly remember reading a book in middle school that focused on a subject too big and too deep for me to truly comprehend at the time. It was about an abused child and a rose bush. I think I even read it twice, but I can still remember even now some of the emotions and confusion I experienced when reading it. Perhaps it was The Lottery Rose?

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