Cover image for David's search
David's search
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, c1998.
Physical Description:
127 p. : illustrations, map ; 19 cm.
Reading Level:
630 L Lexile
Geographic Term:
After eleven-year-old orphan-train rider David Howard settles with a strict Texas farm family, his best friend, an ex-slave, is threatened by the growing presence of the Ku-Klux Klan.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available

On Order



David Howard has been living on the streets of New York City so long he can barely remember his parents. Through the Children's Aid Society, he finds a new home with the Bauer family in Missouri. But farm life isn't easy, especially for a boy who's never seen a cow before. Luckily, the Bauers' hired hand, Amos, an ex-slave, comes to David's rescue. When an unexpected danger threatens Amos, David wants to help his friend. But how can an 11-year-old boy help a grown man?

Author Notes

Joan Lowery Nixon was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended the University of Southern California where she received a B.A. in journalism and later an education certificate from California State.

She has written over 100 mystery books for young adults. She is known for her Orphan Train Adventure Series and other titles including A Family Apart, The Seance and Other Side of the Dark. Her works have earned her the honor of being the only writer to win four Edgar Allen Poe awards and in addition, two Spurs from Western Writers of America. She was a past President of the Mystery Writers of America.

She died from complications of pancreatic cancer on June 28, 2003, in Houston, Texas. She was 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6‘Formulaic? Sure, but Nixon's title also provides a sympathetic protagonist in 11-year-old David and an uncluttered, absorbing plot. After leaving New York City in 1866 on an orphan train, the boy is "adopted" by the unlikable and childless Bauers of Missouri. His strongest connection is with the hired hand, an African American, whose friendly instruction and mentoring help offset the stern implacability of his new family. As David learns the ropes of farm life, he also worries about local prejudice against Amos and rumors that the Ku Klux Klan is in town. When the rumors become reality, Amos leaves for friendlier climes, but not before the child has the chance to see that, for all their coldness, the Bauers are also principled and decent people, willing to stand up to prejudice and violence. Intended for a younger audience than earlier titles in the series, the story is appropriate for reluctant readers and the young chapter-book crowd. The novel's after-matter includes two short historical essays‘one on the orphan trains and the other on the Civil Rights movement. Mistakes in the CIP summary and subject headings suggest that this book takes place in Texas.‘Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Each novel tells about a child who rides an orphan train to Missouri in 1866. Independent Aggie finds a home with a like-minded family and discovers the women's suffrage movement. David encounters the Ku Klux Klan because of an ex-slave friend, but he too finds his niche. The protagonists and their stories are appealing, though predictable, and will likely attract younger readers of historical fiction. Background information is appended. From HORN BOOK Spring 1999, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.