“The Book Thief”, by Markus Zusak, is about a young girl living in Germany during the events of WWII while Hitler was in power. She is not a Jewish girl, but her family does not like Hitler and they hide a Jewish man who is the son of an old friend of her adopted father’s. The girl loves to read and she steals over the course of the book 4 books. The first of which is called “The GraveDiggers Handbook”, the second she saves from a fire as it was writen by a jew. This book details her exploits and life growing up in a poor neighborhood in Germany where Hitler first took power.
Zusak, Markus (2006). “The Book Thief”. New York, NY.: Random House Books.
I found this book to be far more interesting than I thought it would be. Historical Fiction is far from my favorite genre to read, but I would recommend this book to anyone. The pacing is a bit slower than what I was used to and it is by no means a short book, but the development of the characters, the discriptions given of the town and her home life are wonderfully done. It also seems to have quite a bit of historical accuracy (even though its fictional) in terms of the lifestyle and state of the towns in the country at the time. I also found it to be intersting in that Death was the narrator of the story, something that I have never seen before and yet I found it to be a brilliant choice for a narrator.
“The Austrailian writer Markus Zusak’s brilliant and hugly ambitious new young-adult novel is startaling in many ways, but the first thing many teenagers will notice is its length: 552 pages! It’s one thing to write about, say, a boy who happens across a dragon’s egg; its quite another to write a long, achingly sad, intricatly structured book about Nazi Germany narrated by Death itself.” – John Green, The New York Times (2006, May 14). Fighting for Their Lives [a review of The Book Thief].
As this book is about Nazi Germany this book could be used in a library to promote not only historical fiction, but also to promote education of WWII and life in Nazi Germany. It shows that not all the germans were on Hitler’s side during the war and it is useful for linking history lessons to something interesting.