The Book Thief - mscasey

The Book Thief
Written By: Markus Zusak
 The extraordinary #1NewYork Times best
seller that came out in theaters on
November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak's
unforgettable story is about the ability
of books to feed the soul.
 It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.
Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Main Characters:
Hans and Rosa
Huberman –
Foster Parents to
Rudy Steiner –
Liesel’s best
Liesel Meminger
– Main character;
Book Thief
Vandenburg –
Jewish man
who hides in
the Huberman’s
Premise of the novel
 Liesel Meminger, a young German girl growing up in Nazi
Germany, is the star of the show. She's also the chief book thief in
the novel, which is narrated by Death.
 When Liesel's foster parents decide to give refuge to a young
Jewish man hiding from the Nazi regime, the characters grow
and change in horrible and beautiful ways.
 At times hilarious (believe it or not), at times heartbreaking, The
Book Thief is rich and creative. It's a heartfelt reminder of the
power of words – they can destroy or heal, depending on how
we use them.
Why is death the narrator?
 As we watch this video, write down 4 reasons why Markus
Zusak may have had death narrate his novel.
Why Death is Narrator
He can be anywhere; observe and hear multiple locations
2. Injects dark humor into sad situations
3. To remind us of the pain of the Holocaust
4. He is an impartial bystander – less emotional
About the Author Markus Zusak
 Zusak took over three years to complete the piece and even went
to Munich, Germany to research some of the finer points. He
tackles all sorts of dicey issues concerning one of the most difficult
topics ever – the Holocaust
 Zusak's parents grew up in Germany during World War II and
shared their stories of these times with Zusak. This novel mimics
many of their experiences.
 Zusak […] has said that writing the book was inspired by two real-life events
related to him by his German parents: the bombing of Munich, and a teenage
boy offering bread to an emaciated Jew being marched through the streets,
ending with both boy and Jewish prisoner being whipped by a soldier.
Pre-Reading Notes
 The book is set in Munich,
Germany during 1939.
 At this time, Munich was
home to Adolf Hitler and his
National Socialist Workers
Party (Nazis)
 The first concentration camp built by the Nazis was in
Dachau, just 10 miles north-west of the city of Munich.
 Mein Kampf was Hitler’s political manifesto, which detailed
his beliefs.
 The swastika is the black spider-like symbol adopted by Nazis
and used on the flag – colors: black, red, white.
The Grim Reaper
 A personification of death, depicted as
a skeleton, typically wearing a black
good and carrying a scythe.
 Sometimes Grim Reaper is believed to
cause a person’s death. While other
times the Grim Reaper is believed to
simply escort a person who is near
death to the afterworld and finalize
 For the purpose of this novel, we will view
the Grim Reaper as an escort – NOT the
one who causes death.
History of Book Burning
 “Book burning" refers to the ritual destruction by fire
of books or other written materials. Usually carried
out in a public context, the burning of books
represents an element of censorship and usually
proceeds from a cultural, religious, or political
opposition to the materials in question.
 Americans who depend upon free access to
information have to this day often focused on the Nazi
book burnings as a historical symbol of
oppression and censorship.
Jesse Owens
Part 3 Reading Check
1. What is the significance of Mein Kampf in
Part 3?
2. What was the result of the mayor's wife
seeing Leisel steal the book from the book
3. Describe Leisel's summer of stealing.