The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak (Author)

Reading Level: 9th − 12th Grade

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME The extraordinary, beloved novel about the ability of books to feed the soul even in the darkest of times. When Death has a story to tell, you listen. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

"The kind of book that can be life-changing." --The New York Times

"Deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank." --USA Today

DON'T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARKUS ZUSAK'S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF.

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Kirkus

Starred Review
Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review
This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length
and subject...

Hornbook

Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited.

Review quotes

"Brilliant and hugely ambitious...Some will argue that a book so difficult and sad may not be appropriate for teenage readers...Adults will probably like it (this one did), but it's a great young-adult novel...It's the kind of book that can be life-changing, because without ever denying the essential amorality and randomness of the natural order, The Book Thief offers us a believable hard-won hope...The hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence. Young readers need such alternatives to ideological rigidity, and such explorations of how stories matter. And so, come to think of it, do adults." -New York Times, May 14, 2006

"The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic."
- USA Today

"Zusak doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five with grim, darkly consoling humor."
- Time Magazine

"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important."
- Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length
and subject..."
- Publisher's Weekly, Starred

"One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."
- The Wall Street Journal

"Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited."
- The Horn Book Magazine, Starred

"An extraordinary narrative."
- School Library Journal, Starred

"The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures. And because there's no arguing with a sentiment like that."
- New York Times
Markus Zusak
Markus Zusak is the internationally bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and most recently, Bridge of Clay. His work is translated into more than forty languages, and has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.

All of Zusak's books - including earlier titles, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl), and The Messenger (or I am the Messenger) - have been awarded numerous honors around the world, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.

In 2013, The Book Thief was made into a major motion picture, and in 2018 was voted one of America's all-time favorite books, achieving the 14th position on the PBS Great American Read. Also in 2018, Bridge of Clay was selected as a best book of the year in publications ranging from Entertainment Weekly to the Wall Street Journal.

Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780375842207
Lexile Measure
730
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2007
Series
-
BISAC categories
YAF018050 - Young Adult Fiction | Family | Orphans & Foster Homes
YAF058050 - Young Adult Fiction | Social Themes | Death & Dying
YAF024070 - Young Adult Fiction | Historical | Holocaust
Library of Congress categories
History
Storytelling
Death
World War, 1939-1945
Jews
Books and reading
Germany
1933-1945
Rescue
Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award
Nominee 2008 - 2009
Green Mountain Book Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Delaware Diamonds Award
Nominee 2010 - 2011

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