Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: North To Freedom

Recently I was visiting the house I grew up in and was looking over the book shelves for something to occupy my time with. Randomly, I picked up North to Freedom by Anne Holm. The text I was holding had a Copyright Date of 1965 imprinted on it, and yet after reading a few pages, the strongest comparison I could make was to The Hunger Games.

Both books are written for kids and yet both books are structured around themes that seem anything but kid friendly. In the case of North to Freedom the story follows the main character David as he flees a concentration camp and tries to survive. Like The Hunger Games, North to Freedom contains a main character stuck in a no-win situation that you root for. And most importantly, both books were so riveting that I couldn't put either of them down.

David has spent his entire life in a concentration camp, so when he busts free the author has the opportunity to explore all sorts of wide ranging ideas: like happiness, beauty, faith, love and evil. As David wrestles with life on the outside, we get a unique view into the thought process of someone who doesn't take freedom for granted. As a philosophy text alone, it's wonderfully thought provoking.

But the text is more than just good fodder for discussion groups. It's a solid adventure story that pulled me in. I got myself full invested in David and truly hoped I'd get a good outcome for him.

I think this would be an excellent book to read together with your 10 year old or so child. Sure, there are some nail biting scenes, but in the end, the book does manage to stay kid friendly. More importantly, the lessons the book can teach are so immensely valuable, it's worth risking a few nightmares over (says the guy who doesn't have to deal with said nightmares.).

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