Note from the librarian: There is an alternate cover edition available here.
It's the year 1939. Germany during the Nazi era. The country is gasping for air. Death has never been busier, and it will continue to be so.
Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object partially hidde... n in the snow near her brother's grave. It's The Gravedigger's Handbook, which she'd accidentally left there, and it's her first act of book thievery. As Liesel learns to read with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, a love affair with books and words begins. She soon begins stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, and anywhere else she can find them.
However, these are perilous times. Liesel's world is both opened and closed when her foster family hides a Jew in their basement.
Award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time in superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity.
(Please note that this title was not released as YA fiction.)
Son, you can't go around painting yourself black, you hear?" "Why not, Papa?" "Because they'll take you away." "Why?" "Because you shouldn't want to be like black people or Jewish people or anyone who is...not us." "Who are Jewish people?" "You know my oldest customer, Mr. Kaufmann? Where we bought your shoes?" "Yes." "Well, he's Jewish." "I didn't know that. Do you have to pay to be Jewish? Do you need a license?" ..... "...you've got beautiful blond hair and big safe blue eyes. You should be happy with that; is that clear?
It deplores human misery. It celebrates the power of language. It may encourage adolescents to read. It has an element of the fanciful. And it's a book that bestows a self-congratulatory glow upon anyone willing to grapple with it.