Friday, November 10, 2006

Anne Holm

BBC7, the digital radio channel, is running a two-part version of a book called I Am David which was serialised in Look and Learn back in 1967. The seral is being broadcast on Thursday and Friday at 1 pm and is available for a full week through their 'listen again' option. The latter (Friday) link will change but the BBC7 site is very easy to navigate.

The author was Anne Holm and the book originally appeared as David (1963; translated by L. W. Kingsland in 1965), the story of a young boy's adventures as he travels across Europe after escaping from a concentration camp. It was later adapted by the BBC as a television series and was filmed in 2004 with Ben Tibber in the title role.

Anne Holm was born Else Anne Lise Rahbek in Oksbøl, in Aal parish, southwest Jutland, Denmark, on 10 September 1922. When she was eight months old, her parents took her to the United States but she returned to Denmark to live with her grandmother when her mother, Elvira, developed tuberculosis from which she died in 1925. Anne Rahbek lived in Zealand in the care of a local couple, unaware that, due to a miscommunication, her father had made a number of attempts to bring the family back together again. Viggo Marius Rahbek was left believing that they did not want to return to the United States where he continued to work.

She went away to school, proving to be very adept at languages, and received her degree at the age of 17. A teacher introduced her to the editor of a local newspaper and she started training as a journalist in 1939. During the war, Rahbek also began writing poetry at the suggestion of another journalist who also introduced her to a publisher. She married the publisher and had a child but the marriage was short-lived and her husband fled with their son to Sweden. She later married Johan Christian Holm in 1949.

Her first three novels, beginning with Dina fra Apotekergarden published in 1956, were for adults. In 1960, she was asked to write a novel for children but, despite approval by her publisher, the resulting book was considered potentially unacceptible to readers so soon after the war. The manuscript for David remained in a drawer until it was submitted to a competition for a children's book two years later. It won the Gydendal Prize for best Scandinavian children's book in 1963 and was subsequently published in over twenty languages.

Anne Holm wrote another four books for children, three of which were translated into English as Peter (1968), The Hostage (1980) and The Sky Grew Red (1991). She also wrote stories for television and magazines.

Holm lived in Klampenborg. She died on 27 December 1998.

(* The pictures are from episodes 1 and 3 of the serialisation in Look and Learn and are © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd. Lots more images from Look and Learn can be found in the picture library at the website.)


  1. What an entirely engrossing story I am David is. I have only seen the film, but will make it a point to get the book and read it. I appreciate your comments on the author as I'm quite curious about how the story came to be. Thanks for the enlightenment on one of the best stories I've ever experienced!

  2. alan hener:

    I really recomend this story , ITS AMAZING with all the letters and more :)

  3. Do you know who the illustrator was for the two pictures you site in the above post? The Looand And Learn website says they do not have these illustrations. Please advise.

  4. I believe the illustrator is Henry Seabright.



Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books