I Am David by Anne Holm is yet another grade 7 novel study I did with my library class. This one I actually liked and it inspired the major motion picture. Although I don’t generally like movies based on books, it is quite the luxury for a class of students to be able to watch the movie after reading the novel.
David is a young boy who was raised in a concentration camp. They captured his family when he was still an infant. When David is twelve, the man helps David escape from the camp. David suspects it’s a trap and expects to be shot as soon as he crosses the field. He doesn’t.
The man told David to make his way to Denmark. David has to cross several country borders to get there all the while keeping his eyes open for Them. Having grown up in a concentration camp, David must learn many things through his journey, such as how to smile. David also has never seen his own reflection, so he wants to find out what it is about his eyes that is so strange that other people along his journey keep talking about.
I Am David is actually really good, I thought. The author found a very clever way to talk about concentration camps in the early 1900s without making it sound like a documentary. We learn about the concentration camps from what David knows and doesn’t know. At first I was like, “wait a minute………..twelve year old boys don’t talk like that” and then when we learned how David interacted with other children, then it become “ohhhhhhhhh………that’s what the author is getting at”. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.