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The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

Set in Germany during World War II, this historical novel follows the coming of age story of Liesel Meminger. Surrounded by hatred and destruction, Liesel struggles to maintain the innocence of childhood. Her foster parents take in a Jewish man, Hans, and hide him from the authorities. Hans teaches Liesel to read, and she goes on to not only save books from being destroyed by the Nazi Party but also writing herself. She recognises the power of words and tries to share this with her friend Max. The story addresses and navigates themes such as mortality, love and the importance of language.

Due to its length, this novel may be best read in excerpts. The novel is suited for interdisciplinary teaching with subjects such as History or Ethics.

· · 2005

Critical edition

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. Black Swan, 10th Anniversary Edition, 2016. 584 pp., ISBN 9781784162122

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In favour of this entry

  • Award-winning
  • Beyond the US and the UK
  • Democratic and political education
  • Explores historical contexts
  • Students can identify with the text