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The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

Books of the Month eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Reading Group Recommendations

LoveReading View on The Book Thief

A 2012 World Book Night selection.


Voted 3rd in the Books of the Decade by Lovereading readers.


Shortlisted for the Newcomer of the Year Award at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2008.


This is the story of a street of ordinary German people living in the horrors of the Nazi regime.  Interestingly it is narrated by Death but the central character is an 11-year old girl who steals a gravedigger’s handbook and gets hooked on reading.  It’s grim yet uplifting, immensely sad yet light in style and touch.  A very interesting view of World War II and an unforgettable book, it’s aimed at both children and adults and should be read by both.


Larry Finlay, Managing Director of the Publisher of The Book Thief said: 

“It is a great, great book, one that calls out to your head and your heart whatever your age.  Its success is due almost entirely to word-of-mouth for unlike many bestsellers it has not been made into a film (yet), nor was it picked by a Book Club such as Richard and Judy.”


A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher...

The Book Thief is one of those word-of-mouth bestsellers that has made its way into reader’s hearts entirely on its own merits. When this book came to me by way of the Children’s Division, my heart took that legendary leap. I met for the first time the delightful Liesel, Rudy and of course Death, the narrator, all of whom have joined the galaxy of best-loved characters in world literature. Rare is the reader who doesn’t close this book with a tear in their eye.' Jane Lawson, Editorial Director at Transworld



Sarah Broadhurst

The Book Thief Synopsis





1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.



It’s a small story, about:

a girl

an accordionist

some fanatical German

a Jewish fist fighter

and quite a lot of thievery.



The Book Thief Press Reviews

"A moving work which will make many eyes brim." Marianne Brace, Independent on Sunday

"A magical tale."

"...a beautifully balanced piece of storytelling...Unsettling, thought-provoking, life affirming, triumphant and tragic, this is a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told. It is an important piece of work, but also a wonderful page-turner." Guardian

"A moving story from the German perspective of everyday civilian hardship and surivival under the Third Reich. It celebrates the power of words and love, in the face of unutterable suffering."
Mail on Sunday

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781784162122
Publication date: 15/09/2016
Publisher: Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780552779739
Publication date: 30/01/2014
Publisher: Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781784162122
Publication date: 08/09/2007
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780370329215
Publication date: 23/01/2007
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781784162122
Publication date: 8th September 2007
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 560 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Markus Zusak

Australian author Markus Zusak grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich and about Jews being marched through his mother’s small, German town. He always knew it was a story he wanted to tell.'We have these images of the straight-marching lines of boys and the 'Heil Hitlers' and this idea that everyone in Germany was in it together. But there still were rebellious children and people who didn’t follow the rules and people who hid Jews and other people in their houses.'Markus Zusak is the award-winning recipient of a 2006 Printz ...

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