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Liesel Meminger is virtually alone in the world when she arrives on the doorsteps of Hans and Rosa Hubermann’s house during World War II. Her father is dead, and her mother is a suspected Communist probably being sought by the Gestapo. Liesel and her brother are sent as foster children to the Hubermanns, but Liesel agonizingly watches her brother die on the trip.

Almost every night, Liesel suffers from nightmares, and Hans stays with her through the night, eventually teaching her to read. He comforts her, while Rosa is brusque. Hans is a big-hearted, compassionate man who despises what the Nazis are doing. He shows Liesel fatherly love in a world of despair.

Rudy becomes Liesel’s best friend and potential boyfriend. He amuses her with his crazy stunts like painting himself black and pretending to be Jesse Owens in an Olympic run. Together, they find food in the countryside as supplies in town disappear. Rudy and Hans both help Liesel blend into town instead of remaining an outcast.

The book is definitely worth reading. I stopped reading it because the Holocaust disturbs me, but was prodded to finish it by a teenager. It is remarkable. At your library, you may find versions on CD or MP3.

Read the study guide:
The Book Thief

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