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The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak

Publisher: Black Swan
ISBN: 9780552779739
Pages: 582
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Liesel Meminger and her young brother are being taken away from their parents who are communists. On the way to their foster home, the little boy dies. After the funeral, Liesel notices a book, The Grave Digger's Handbook, which she picks up and hides.

She then arrives at the home of their foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Hans notices that Liesel is having trouble sleeping at night. She is having nightmares about her dead brother and her mother. Hans plays the accordion for her and tells her stories. She begins to feel safe with him.

Rosa works as a washerwoman, taking in clothes from wealthy families and cleaning them. Liesel has the job of picking up and delivering the clothes. She soon develops a close friendship with a boy in the neighborhood, Rudy Steiner. Hans teaches her to read from the book she picked up by her brother's grave, The Grave Digger's Handbook.

Ilsa Hermann, the mayor’s wife, notices the girl’s love of books and invites Liesel to her house and allows her to choose books from her vast collection. Meanwhile, the Nazi presence becomes more and more evident as Jews are paraded in the streets on their way to isolated camps.

Hans decides to help the son of a Jewish friend who saved his life in the First World War. Max Vandenburg is hidden in the basement and Liesel develops a close bond with him. They both love books and stories and they both share a love and respect for Hans Hubermann. Meanwhile, as an economizing measure, many people including Ilsa stop using Rosa's services. Angered by this, Liesel stops visiting Ilsa, but enters the house furtively with Rudy and steals books.

As a punishment for Hans' actions in helping Jews, he is sent to serve in the army, as is Rudy's father. Fearing for Max's safety, Hans sends him away. Before leaving, Max entrusts Rosa with a gift for Liesel, a book called The Word Shaker, about a young girl who uses the power of words for good.

Liesel receives the book from Rosa, and she begins to realize how powerful words are, as Hitler and his men have been using them for their own purpose. The entire story is narrated by Death, who confesses himself as being haunted and puzzled by humans and their capacities for both good and evil.
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