"The Book Thief is a beautiful story about the power of language. Set in Germany during WWII, it follows the journey of Liesel Meminger, a young orphan who learns to love books. Though she is at first resistant to beginning a new life with her foster parents, she slowly begins to settle in. Hans, her foster father, teaches her to read, and she makes friends with other children in the neighborhood. Intrigued by the potential of the written language, she begins stealing books from a book burning and the mayor’s wife’s library. But stealing books pales in comparison to her foster parents’ crime: hiding Max, a Jewish fugitive, in their basement. After becoming Max’s friend, Liesel decides to write a book of her own.
I loved the book! The characters were well developed and easy to love. The Book Thief is different from most other WWII historical fiction novels because it has Death as the narrator and the protagonists are Germans. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a book that will make them laugh at some times and cry at others." - Jacqueline, Grade 10
"The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, is a brilliant, honest novel about a little girl in the midst of war-ridden Germany. Liesel is brought to a small town in Germany to live with her new foster parents during World War II. Her brother has died on the train and her mother has been sent to a concentration camp. Slowly, Liesel gets used to her new life. She steals a book, and soon falls in love with reading. She grows especially fond of her foster father while he teaches her how to read and plays the accordion for her. But the increasing tension from Germany comes in the way, and the frightfulness of the war crawls into Liesel’s life. Life gets even more unstable as she steals books (among other things), and her foster parents hide a Jewish man in their basement.
This book is narrated by death, who is personified as an honest, gentle man. This was the first time I read a story that has not been narrated by a living, human character; so that was pretty interesting. The book is also very clear and complete. There are no exaggerations and it is free of the cliches one might see in other World War II young adult fiction.
I would recommend this to patient readers of any age." - Anjani, Grade 10