The Book Thief
The Book Thief By Markus Zusak
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 full fledged book thief. She rescues books from Nazi book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. Liesel is illiterate when she steals her first 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.
Hear a New Message from The Book Thief’s Author, Markus Zusak
Teaching Resources for The Book Thief
- Download the RHCB Reading Group Guide for The Book Thief
- Use the free TeachingTolerance Learning Plan for The Book Thief
- Explore primary sources about the Holocaust for grades 6-8.
- Explore essential questions and learning tasks for grades 6-8, 9-12.
- Explore the National Coalition Against Censorship Resources
- After discussing censorship as a theme in The Book Thief, talk about the right to read and the first amendment with students.
Explore free printables on ReadWriteThink.org
- Use a character development chart to track how Death is characterized.
- How is color used as a literary technique in The Book Thief? Define and discuss connotations of colors, and ask students to keep a color journal as they read.
- Read The Book Thief, then watch the 2013 major motion picture. Compare and contrast the book and the film.
Praise for The Book Thief
“Brilliant . . . it’s the kind of book that can be life-changing. ” —The New York Times
★ “Beautiful and important.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ “An achievement. ” —Publishers, Starred Review
★”Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak’s poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited.” —The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
★ “An extraordinary narrative.” —School Library Journal, Starred
“One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years.” —The Wall Street Journal