Liesel Meminger is only nine years old when she is taken to live with the Hubermanns, a foster family, on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, in the late 1930s. She arrives with few possessions, but among them is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, a book that she stole from her brother’s burial place. During the years that Liesel lives with the Hubermanns, Hitler becomes more powerful, life on Himmel Street becomes more fearful, and Liesel becomes a fullfledged book thief. She rescues books from Nazi book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. Liesel is illiterate when she steals her fi rst book, but Hans Hubermann uses her prized books to teach her to read. This is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, death, and grief. This is Liesel’s life on Himmel Street, told from Death’s point of view.
ReadingGroupGuides – Includes Critical Praise, Author Info, and Discussion Questions
The New York Times – “Stealing to Settle a Score with Life” by Janet Maslin and “Fighting for Their Lives” by John Green
The Guardian (UK) – “It’s a Steal” by Philip Ardagh
USA Today – “‘The Book Thief’ Rises Above Horrors of War” by Carol Memmott
The Washington Post – “The Power of Words” by Elizabeth Chang
If you enjoyed The Book Thief, you might like these:
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
City of Thieves (Book Club Kit) by David Benioff
Sarah’s Key (Book Club Kit) by Tatiana de Rosnay
Check out The Book Club Cook Book for Markus Zusak’s Vanilla Kipferl (aka Crescent Cookies) recipe!