In Germany during WWII Liesel Meminger is sent to live with foster parents. Her father has disappeared, her mother can no longer care for her and her brother dies en route to the foster family's home.
When Liesel first arrives at her foster family's home she does not know how to read. But her father teaches her and Liesel learns to love reading. She loves it so much, in fact, that she often steals books. Liesel also goes to school and makes friends with the neighbors on her new street. As WWII progresses, life gets harder for the German citizens. There is not enough food or work. Liesel's family hides a Jew in their basement. Liesel's foster father is sent to war. And as nearly all WWI novels go, the ending is unhappy.
I loved this book. I had actually tried to read it two times before and could never get interested in it. The narrator is death and it is a bit odd at the beginning of the book. But this time I pushed through the beginning as I was getting used to the narrator and then I could not put it down.
Most of the WWII books that I have read have been from a Jew's point of view. And while those books are not to be diminished. It was interesting to read a book from a German citizen's point of view. Essentially WWII was not pleasant for anyone.
I enjoyed the theme of Leisel stealing books. She met the mayor's wife who had a wonderful library full of her personal books. The mayor's wife had lost her only child and never recovered. Not only was the book narrated by death but death is one of the books themes. Everyone was touched by death and each character dealt with it differently.
While living in Germany during WWII, Liesel Meminger copes with the horrors of war by stealing books.
Information about the author
Australian author Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mother’s small, German town. He always knew it was a story he wanted to tell.
“We have these images of the straight-marching lines of boys and the ‘Heil Hitlers’ and this idea that everyone in Germany was in it together. But there still were rebellious children and people who didn’t follow the rules and people who hid Jews and other people in their houses. So there’s another side to Nazi Germany,” said Zusak in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.
At the age of 30, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a ‘literary phenomenon’ by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. He lives in Sydney.
*State some things you know about WWII? Have you read a book about WWII that was not a Jewish story? *How would you describe death, if it were a person?
age 12 and up
I have been wanting to read this book for years. I also kept hearing wonderful things about it. And I was not disappointed!