About Dave...

"One could come from less than humble beginnings, to become a winner from within."
~ Dave Pelzer

#1 New York Times Best Seller List
#1 International Best Selling Author
Recipient of The National Jefferson Award


In a word, Dave Pelzer embodies Esprit: Spirit, Humor & Wit. As a child, his resilience, enabled him to overcome extreme life-threatening obstacles. As an aadult, Dave’s inspirational work has encouraged countless organizations and millions of individuals to recommit their efforts and remain steadfast to their convictions and personal growth.

Dave has experienced a truly adventurous extraordinary life. At age 12, Dave was rescued and placed in a series of foster homes until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18.


As a member of the armed forces, Dave was hand-picked to midair refuel the then highly secretive SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth Fighter. While serving on active duty and maintaining a rigorous flight schedule, Dave made time to give of himself. In 1990, Dave was the recipient of the JC Penney Golden Rule Award, making him the California Volunteer of the Year.

Some of Dave’s distinctive accomplishments have been recognized through several prestigious awards, as well as personal commendations from four U.S. Presidents. In 1993, Dave was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. He joins a distinguished group including: John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney, and Elvis Presley. In 1994, Dave was the only American to be honored as The Outstanding Young Persons of the World. In 1996, he carried the coveted centennial flame for the Olympic Games. In 2005, Dave was the recipient of the National Jefferson Award, which is considered the Pulitzer Prize of public service. Other alumni of this award include Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor, Robert De Niro, and Oprah Winfrey.

Not known to the general public, from 2006 – 2010, while at extreme risk plus using his own time and expense, Dave spent weeks at a time visiting the troops in the Middle East and South West Asia, providing counseling and comedic presentations to embedded troops.

When not on the road speaking, performing radio presentations, and podcasts, Dave served his community as a volunteer Fire Captain in two separate districts fighting explosive fires and floods. For his efforts, Dave was twice selected as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

Dave is the author of nine inspirational books. Dave’s first book, A Child Called “It” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for a record setting 6 years. His books were on the same Best Sellers List for well over 12 years. Dave was the first author to have four # 1 International Best Sellers and to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Dave is a living testament of a self-made man. Dave’s unique and intriguing outlook on life, coupled with his comedic wit and sense of humor entertain and encourage all of us to deeply commit to overcome any challenge. Dave has literally dedicated his life to helping others...to help themselves.

A Child Called "It"
The Lost Boy
A Man Named Dave
Help Yourself
The Privilege of Youth
Help Yourself for Teens
Moving Forward
Too Close to Me
Return to the River