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The Book Thief

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

It's 1939 in Molching, Germany, and horror is everywhere. Nazi rule has divided the nation into those who are brutalized and those who are merely oppressed. Hunger, fear, and isolation reign. There are stories here, and who better to tell them than Death?
Gathering souls, Death observes the many mysteries of human nature. How can people be cruel and kind, sad and joyful, bitter and beautiful, loving and inhumane…all at the same time? Death is especially struck by young Liesel Meminger, a nine-year old girl who faces loss, abandonment, and hopelessness.

Yet Liesel finds refuge from her nightmares

  • with her foster mother, who always seems to make the right decision, even in the face of so much wrong;
  • with her foster father, who introduces her to the power of words and books; and
  • with a secret friend, who teaches her how to overcome her fears through telling her own story.

Celebrating the way that books and stories unite people in the face of tragedy, this haunting, weighty, and transformative book is impossible to forget.

14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Interest Level
Grades 8 - 12
Grade Level Equivalent
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages
Historical Fiction, Young Adult

About the Author

Markus Zusak Markus Zusak was born in 1975, the youngest of four children born to German and Austrian immigrant parents. Markus studied teaching at university and gained experience teaching at the high school level.

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