The Book Thief 

The book thief
The book thief backcover

The Book Thief: Book Summary

The Book Thief is a historical fiction novel by Markus Zusak, set in Nazi Germany during World War II. The story is narrated by Death, who tells the tale of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who is sent to live with foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann in the fictional town of Molching. Liesel is illiterate when she arrives at the Hubermanns’, but Hans teaches her to read. She quickly develops a love of books and begins to steal them from Nazi book burnings and other places. She also befriends Rudy Steiner, a local boy who shares her love of reading.

When the war intensifies, the Hubermanns agree to hide a Jewish man named Max Vandenburg in their basement. Max becomes Liesel’s friend and confidant, and she helps him to keep his spirits up during his time in hiding. The war eventually takes its toll on Molching. Hans is killed in a bombing raid, and Rosa is injured. Liesel and Rudy are separated, and Max is forced to flee. Liesel eventually finds refuge with the mayor and his wife, and she eventually immigrates to Australia.


The Book Thief is a story about the power of words and the importance of love and friendship. It is also a reminder of the horrors of war and the resilience of the human spirit.

Here are some of the themes explored in the novel:

  • The power of words: Liesel finds comfort and solace in books, and she comes to believe that words have the power to change the world.
  • The importance of love and friendship: Liesel finds love and friendship with Hans, Rosa, Rudy, and Max. These relationships help her to survive the war and to find hope in the midst of despair.
  • The horrors of war: The novel depicts the horrors of war, including death, destruction, and displacement. It shows the ways in which war can tear families apart and destroy lives.
  • The resilience of the human spirit: Despite the hardships she faces, Liesel never gives up hope. She is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, the human spirit can prevail.

The Book Thief is a powerful and moving novel that has been praised by critics and readers alike. It has been translated into 63 languages and has sold over 17 million copies worldwide. The novel was adapted into a film in 2013.

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About The Author, Markus Zusak

The Book Thief and Bridge of Clay are two of the six novels by the internationally bestselling novelist Markus Zusak. Zusak is one of the most well-known writers to have emerged from Australia. His books have been translated into more than forty different languages, and they have spent more than ten years on the New York Times bestseller list.

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