The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)

The Book Thief follows the story of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in Nazi Germany during World War II. With the power of words and a stolen book, Liesel navigates a world filled with loss, friendship, and the transformative impact of literature, defying the horrors around her.

Author: Marcus Zusak
Project: Orpheuspower of music / love and trust
Project: warWorld War II
Year of publication: 2006
Pages: 552





Plot Complexity: moderate
Language Complexity: light
Ideas Complexity: moderate

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a captivating novel that combines a simple yet evocative language with thought-provoking ideas and an engaging plot. The language used is accessible and approaches a young adult level, allowing readers to easily follow the story. The novel explores profound themes such as survival, loss, and the power of words, inviting readers to contemplate deeper meanings. The plot unfolds with multiple layers, incorporating twists and turns that keep readers invested in the characters’ journey.


It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


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