The Book Thief

The Book Thief
Main Characters
Death tells the story of Liesel, a young girl growing up in Nazi Germany. While her family hides a Jewish man from the Nazis, Liesel steals books to learn to read. The city crumbles around her, and Leisel learns that words can change the world—but they can't save the people you love.
The Book Thief
Drawn to words, Liesel learns to read a book stolen from a grave digger.
Liesel & Max
Max hides in the basement, where he and Liesel explore the power of words.
Liesel's Book
Liesel begins to write about the events and people that have shaped her life.
Liesel Meminger
Brave, clever, determined young girl growing up in Nazi Germany; loves reading and writing
Rudy Steiner
Athletic, smart, kind boy with lemon-yellow hair; looks like ideal Nazi but is not
Hans Hubermann
Tall, quiet, compassionate, anti-Nazi; plays accordion and comforts Liesel
Max Vandenburg
Young Jewish amateur boxer hiding from Nazis in Hans's cellar; helps Liesel learn to read
Power of Words
Words can change the world for better or worse.
Burden of Guilt
Survivors of trauma may feel guilt for living when others died.
Unanswered Questions
Questions about the capacity for human destruction defy answers.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Zusak worked as a teacher and house painter before publishing several novels, of which The Book Thief is the best known. Zusak's parents' experiences during World War II in Germany and Austria influenced this book, which became a feature film in 2013.