Liesel has nightmares about her brother who died for the first several months after moving in with Hans and Rosa. To help Liesel cope with the nightmares and her new foster home, Hans teaches Liesel to read and tells her stories.
Throughout the novel, Liesel finds comfort and hope in her books. She is able to make a strong bond with Max, a Jew hiding out in their basement, because of their mutual love of books. Liesel reads books to others to calm them, help pass the time, and to learn about the outside world during the bomb raids. In Nazi Germany, people are sheltered from truth, but through books, Liesel can discover what else is in the world and make decisions for herself about the validity of the Nazi party.
Liesel's ability to make unlikely friends comes from her ability to read and develop empathy and love through the characters in the books.