|The Book Thief|
|Title: The Book Thief
Author: Zusak, Markus
Publisher: Random House Children's Books - US
Last Updated: 2017-05-31
An incredible young adult novel about how a young girl's love of books helps a community survive World War II and the Holocaust.
It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, this groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
"Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of a sophisticated teen and adult readers.a mesmerizing and original story."-School Library Journal, starred review
"A tour de force to be not just read but inhabited."-The Horn Book, starred review
Markus Zusak is the author of I Am the Messenger, winner of the Children's Book Council Book of the Year in Australia, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and Getting the Girl. The author lives in Sydney, Australia.
Editorial Reviews -
The Book Thief
From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
As one of our Discover readers said recently, "A good book is a good book," regardless of the audience for which it was written. In the spirit of that comment, we heartily recommend The Book Thief for readers of both the adult and teen persuasions.
Australian-born Markus Zusak grew up sitting at the kitchen table, glued to his chair, listening to his mother's tales of her childhood in Nazi Germany. Such tales would later serve as a springboard for his unusual novel about the power of words to both destroy and comfort. A daring work in the adventurous spirit of The Shadow of the Wind, this novel has a bizarre narrator: Death. Drawn into a tense and dangerous historical era, readers discover how Liesel Meminger first learns to read and is transformed into the "book thief," stealing books before they can be burned by the Nazis or confiscated from personal libraries. When her family decides to hide a Jew in the basement, Liesel holds out hope to him in the form of her two most precious commodities: words and stories. (Summer 2006 Selection)
From the Publisher
It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
Corduner uses considerable zeal and a talent for accents to navigate Zusak's compelling, challenging novel set in Nazi Germany. Death serves as knowing narrator for the tale, which is framed much like a lengthy flashback. The storytelling aspects of this structure include asides to the listener, and lots of foreshadowing about what eventually happens to the various lead characters-appealing features for listeners. But Corduner seems to most enjoy embracing the heart of things here-the rather small and ordinary saga of 10-year-old Liesel Meminger, who has been given over to a foster family following her mother's branding as a "Kommunist" and the death of her younger brother. Under her foster parents' care, she learns how to read, how to keep terrifying secrets and how to hone her skills as a book thief, a practice that keeps her sane and feeds her newfound love of words. With quick vocal strokes, Corduner paints vivid, provocative portraits of Germans and Jews under unfathomable duress and the ripple effect such circumstances have on their lives. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Barbara WysockiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information. - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
With Death as narrator, Markus Zusak's haunting novel (Knopf, 2003) follows Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief, through the fear-filled years of Nazi Germany. The story opens as the ten-year-old girl takes her first book shortly after her younger brother's death. Both children were en route to the foster home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann in a Munich suburb. Despite Rosa's sharp tongue and Hans's lack of work, their home is a loving refuge for the nightmare-ridden girl. It also becomes a hideout for Max, a young Jewish man whose father saved Hans's life. Liesel finds solace with her neighbor Rudy and her creative partnership with Max. Accompanied by Rudy, the girl copes by stealing food from farmers and books from the mayor's wife. There are also good moments as she learns to read and plays soccer, but Hans's ill-advised act of kindness to a Jewish prisoner forces Max to leave their safe house. The failing war effort and bombing by the Allies lead to more sacrifices, a local suicide and, eventually, to great losses. Reading books and writing down her experiences save Liesel, but this novel clearly depicts the devastating effects of war. Narrator Allan Corduner defines each character with perfect timing. He's deliberate as the voice of Death, softly strong as Liesel, and impatient, but not unkind, as Rosa. With richly evocative imagery and compelling characters, Zusak explores behind-the-lines life in World War II Germany, showing the day-to-day heroism of ordinary people. Relevant for class discussions on wars both past and present.
When Death tells a story, you pay attention. Liesel Meminger is a young girl growing up outside of Munich in Nazi Germany, and Death tells her story as "an attempt-a flying jump of an attempt-to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it." When her foster father helps her learn to read and she discovers the power of words, Liesel begins stealing books from Nazi book burnings and the mayor's wife's library. As she becomes a better reader, she becomes a writer, writing a book about her life in such a miserable time. Liesel's experiences move Death to say, "I am haunted by humans." How could the human race be "so ugly and so glorious" at the same time? This big, expansive novel is a leisurely working out of fate, of seemingly chance encounters and events that ultimately touch, like dominoes as they collide. The writing is elegant, philosophical and moving. Even at its length, it's a work to read slowly and savor. Beautiful and important. (Fiction. 12+)