The Book Thief

The Book Thief

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Liesel Meminger Character Analysis

The protagonist of the novel, a young girl who comes to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her foster parents. Liesel's real parents, who were communists, were probably killed by the Nazis, and her brother Werner dies in the story's first scene. Liesel experiences great suffering in the novel, but through learning to read, stealing a series of different books, and her developing relationship with her foster parents, her friend Rudy, and a Jewish young man named Max whom the Hubermanns hide in their basement for a time, she grows from a troubled girl into a compassionate, creative young adult.

Liesel Meminger Quotes in The Book Thief

The The Book Thief quotes below are all either spoken by Liesel Meminger or refer to Liesel Meminger. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Alfred A. Knopf edition of The Book Thief published in 2007.
Prologue: The Flag Quotes

Yes, often, I am reminded of her, and in one of my vast array of pockets, I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt – an immense leap of an attempt – to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:

In this unusual prologue, we're introduced to Death, ostensibly the storyteller behind the book we're about to read. Death isn't the fearsome, chilling figure we might expect--instead, he's thoughtful and oddly human. Death isn't so much an executioner as a historian; his job is to remember and try to relate to the people he's witnessed dying. The book we're about to read, we're told, is about a young woman whose story somehow proves that human existence is "worth it."

What does it mean for existence to be "worth it," especially if it must end in death? The protagonist of this novel will try to find meaning in her life, even as the threat of death--not just death, but annihilation by the Nazis--becomes stronger and stronger. Death seems to admire the people who try hardest to fight him, or whose stories prove that life is valuable even in the face of its inevitable end.

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Part 1: Growing Up a Saumensch Quotes

All told, she owned fourteen books, but she saw her story as being made up predominantly of ten of them. Of those ten, six were stolen, one showed up at the kitchen table, two were made for her by a hidden Jew, and one was delivered by a soft, yellow-dressed afternoon.
When she came to write her story, she would wonder exactly when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger, Max Vandenburg
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

Death continues to narrate the story, foreshadowing many of the key events in the novel. The protagonist, Liesel, is a lover of books and words in general, and has come to find language a matter of life and death-iwords mean "everything" to her.

The story we're about to hear, Death suggests, isn't just about the life of Liesel. It's also about how Liesel comes to recognize that books and words are central to her existence. Furthermore, the passage complicates the question of who, exactly, is telling this story. Death seems to be the narrator, but here it's suggested that Liesel ends up writing her own story--has she assumed the guise of death in order to tell the story of her own life?

Part 1: The Other Side of Sandpaper Quotes

As for the girl, there was a sudden desire to read it that she didn't even attempt to understand. On some level, perhaps she wanted to make sure her brother was buried right. Whatever the reason, her hunger to read that book was as intense as any ten-year-old human could experience.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, we meet Liesel as she first embarks on a long career of reading. Liesel has just witnessed the death of her brother; soon afterwards, she finds a book called The Grave Digger's Handbook, which she shows to her adopted father, Hans. Hans will go on to teach Liesel how to read books of all kinds, but here Liesel feels her first powerful desire to learn how to read.

Why the urgency of learning to read? The fact that Liesel feels such a desire after her brother's death (and after she's sent to live with new parents) suggests that Liesel sees reading as a way of understanding the mysteries of life: even if she can't control her own destiny, she can at least understood books. Furthermore, the proximity of death (grave-digging) and literature suggests that literature might represent a way to cheat or transcend death--one of the key ideas of the novel.

Part 1: The Smell of Friendship Quotes

Papa would say a word and the girl would have to spell it aloud and then paint it on the wall, as long as she got it right. After a month, the wall was recoated. A fresh cement page.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger, Hans Hubermann
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

In this idyllic scene, Liesel learns how to read in whatever ways her circumstances allow. In the basement, her adopted father, Hans, shows her how to paint words onto a wall. The beauty of Liesel's lessons is that whenever she runs out of space on the wall Hans can re-coat the wall with paint, allowing Liesel to begin again.

The wall is an interesting symbol, suggesting that Liesel embraces reading because it allows for a "fresh start." Liesel is a young girl, but she's already had a tough life, full of death and tragedy. By mastering the art of reading, she learns how to reinvent herself with the help of writing.

Part 1: The Heavyweight Champion of the School-Yard Quotes

The day of the announcement, Papa was lucky enough to have some work. On his way home, he picked up a discarded newspaper… and slipped it beneath his shirt. By the time he made it home and removed it, his sweat had drawn the ink onto his skin. The paper landed on the table, but the news was stapled to his chest. A tattoo…
"What does it say?" Liesel asked him…
"'Hitler takes Poland,'" he answered, and Hans Hubermann slumped into a chair.

Related Characters: Liesel Meminger (speaker), Death (speaker), Hans Hubermann (speaker)
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Here the characters first get word that Hitler has invaded Poland. Hans is terrified by this news--but what's equally important is the manner in which he receives it. Hans reads a newspaper story about Hitler's invasion, and he carries it with him for so long that the words print themselves on his body. The image of words tattooed onto a man's body prophesies the Holocaust, during which Jews were forcibly tattooed with their registration numbers. The message is clear enough: Hitler's victory in Poland foreshadowed his even more terrifying "victories" over the Jews in Europe. Furthermore, the passage underscores the power of language--not for the last time, words have a physical presence as well as a metaphorical one.

Part 2: 100 Percent Pure German Sweat Quotes

Although something inside told her that this was a crime – after all, her three books were the most precious items she owned – she was compelled to see the thing lit. She couldn't help it. I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Liesel and the other people in her community participate in a book-burning. Book burnings were a fixture of early Fascist politics in Germany: Hitler commended the German people for destroying so-called "subversive" literature by Jews and communists. Disturbingly, everybody in the chapter--including Liesel--seems to be enjoying the book-burning.

The passage ties in with Death's earlier comments about humanity's natural propensity for destruction. Ironically, Death is the calm, peaceful character in this novel, and humans are the volatile, often brutal ones. Liesel loves to read, and she has a lot of respect for language--and yet even Liesel has the destructive "spark" inside her: she's a human being.

Part 3: The Mayor's Library Quotes

Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see the paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

In this important passage, the mayor's wife introduces Liesel to her library--a place where hundreds of books are displayed on the wall in all their glory. Liesel has seen plenty of books before, but she's never seen so many in one place, other than at book burnings. Here, books are celebrated for their beauty and wisdom--the library is like a church, comforting Liesel in a time of need.

The fact that Liesel is so appreciative of the mayor's wife's library suggests that, in spite of her potential for destructive impulses (as noted by Death previously), she's a gentle, wise person. Liesel knows how to respect beauty, and she understands the importance of protecting words and stories of all kinds.

Part 5: The Gambler (A Seven-Sided Die) Quotes

Liesel, however, did not buckle. She sprayed her words directly into the woman's eyes.
"You and your husband. Sitting up here." Now she became spiteful. More spiteful and evil than she thought herself capable.
The injury of words.
Yes, the brutality of words.

Related Characters: Liesel Meminger (speaker), Death (speaker), Ilsa Hermann
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

Things have gotten rough for Liesel's family. They run a laundry service, but in the hardships of the war, most of their customers have abandoned them. Now, the family's final customer, the Hermann family, has canceled as well: Liesel's family has no source of income left. Liesel's sudden spitefulness here seems somewhat unjustified, as Ilsa continues to treat Liesel kindly and invites her to keep visiting her library, and even gives her another book--but Liesel is overcome with anger when she compares the Mayor's circumstances to her own.

The scene reminds us that words are by no means a tool for good--on the contrary, one can use words for all sorts of purposes, good and bad (as we've often been reminded through the symbol of Mein Kampf). Liesel allows her emotions to run away with her here, using her words to criticize Ilsa and hurt Ilsa deeply.

Part 5: The Whistler and the Shoes Quotes

He laughed. "Good night, book thief."
It was the first time Liesel had been branded with her title, and she couldn't hide the fact that she liked it very much. As we're both aware, she'd stolen books previously, but in late October 1941, it became official. That night, Liesel Meminger truly became the book thief.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Rudy Steiner (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 292
Explanation and Analysis:

Rudy is by now well aware that Liesel steals books form Ilsa's library. He seems to understand that Liesel steals these books because of her love for literature, and because she wants to prove to herself that she's adult enough to take matters into her own hands, whether or not Ilsa Hermann allows her in the library.

The passage is interesting because it suggests that words become most "real" when two people share them. Ilsa had already stolen several books, but strangely, it's not until Rudy gives her the title "Book Thief" that she begins to think of herself as one.

Part 7: The Sky Stealer Quotes

She didn't dare look up, but she could feel their frightened eyes hanging on to her as she hauled the words in and breathed them out. A voice played the notes inside her. This, it said, is your accordion.
The sound of the turning page carved them in half.
Liesel read on.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Related Symbols: The Accordion
Page Number: 381
Explanation and Analysis:

During an air raid, the people of Himmel Street are gathered underground in the air raid shelter. In the frightened silence, Liesel reads a book aloud to comfort the people around her--just like Hans would play his accordion to comfort Liesel herself. Liesel has grown a great deal over the course of the novel: when we first met her, she was frightened and just beginning to learn how to read--now, though, she's mastered the art of reading, and by the same token, she's learned how to take care of herself and others.

The passage confirms the relationship between literature and wisdom. Learning to read isn't just a useful skill--it's a way for human beings to take control over their own lives and maintain a sense of peace and calm. Literature has a function similar to that of music: it calms people in their times of need--here, for instance, it calms others during the threat of a bombing.

Part 8: The Hidden Sketchbook Quotes

The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.
That's why she could climb higher than anyone else. She had desire. She was hungry for them.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 446
Explanation and Analysis:

This section comes from Max's sketchbook, which he has left behind for Liesel, and which Death now summarizes for us. A word shaker, in Max's story, is a person who uses the power of language, either for good or for evil (Hitler is the first one mentioned in the story). The girl in this passage--clearly Liesel herself--is adept at using language to help other people, precisely because she remembers a time when she didn't know how to use language at all (at the beginning of the novel, she couldn't read).

Liesel's power to do good is directly tied to her linguistic abilities. She feels a sincere desire to extend her aid to others--even if they're Jews or other so-called "undesirables." As we've already seen, Liesel knows how to use books and words to provide comfort and support to other people.

Part 10: Ilsa Hermann's Little Black Book Quotes

The sun stirs the earth. Around and around, it stirs us, like stew
On Munich Street, she remembered the events of the previous week there. She saw the Jews coming down the road, their streams and numbers and pain. She decided there was a word missing from her quote.
The world is an ugly stew, she thought.
It's so ugly I can't stand it.

Related Characters: Liesel Meminger (speaker), Death (speaker)
Page Number: 519
Explanation and Analysis:

As World War II and the Holocaust go on, Liesel becomes increasingly disillusioned with the human race. She sees everything that humans are capable of: the murders that they commit, the innocent people they torture, etc. Liesel isn't sure how to comprehend so much brutality. In the end, she thinks of a book she read, in which the author described the world as a stew. Liesel amends the text and describes the world as an "ugly" stew--a horrible mishmash of ugliness and evil.

Liesel has a way with words, and in her time of emotional crisis, words again allow her to make sense of the world--even if this just means describing it in all its horror. Liesel seems to be losing her faith in humanity, and therefore her faith in life--a faith that's previously led to her to provide comfort to the lonely and suffering.

She tore a page from the book and ripped it in half.
Then a chapter.
Soon, there was nothing but scraps of words littered between her legs and all around her. The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn't be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing…
What good were the words?

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 521
Explanation and Analysis:

There's no reason why words have to be good--and in this passage, Liesel realizes the truth about words in the most disillusioning way imaginable. At the height of World War II, Liesel sees the evil that words have wrought everywhere around her. Even Hitler, she knows, used words to manipulate people into enacting his evil ideas. Words, she concludes, are too dangerous to be worth it--they end up hurting people more than they help people.

It's a mark of how depressed and resentful Liesel has become that she's about to turn her back on books--the very things that have given her so much pleasure and joy in life. In her misery, Liesel (perhaps understandably) forgets about all the good that books are capable of achieving--the people they're capable of inspiring and the lives they're capable of improving, including Liesel's own.

Epilogue: The Handover Man Quotes

I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

Related Characters: Death (speaker), Liesel Meminger
Page Number: 550
Explanation and Analysis:

As the novel ends, Death confronts the same paradoxes that he and the other characters have been confronting throughout the novel. How is it possible, he wonders, that human beings are capable of incredible evil, but also incredible acts of selflessness and kindness? While Death doesn't provide an answer to his question, he decides to simply accept this reality for what it is (to just "estimate" it): it's possible in the same sense that it's possible for words to be used for moral and immoral purposes. A word is nothing by itself--just a sound, or a few scratches on a piece of paper. But when words are moved around and manipulated for a cause, they can achieve anything, right or wrong. The same is true of human beings. Human nature is a complex thing, neither entirely good or bad, ugly or beautiful. Death, despite his immortality, is still fascinated and perplexed by these contradictions. It's because Death fails to understand humanity that he continues to study humans closely--especially humans like Liesel who embrace the power of life and language in all its ambiguity.

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Liesel Meminger Character Timeline in The Book Thief

The timeline below shows where the character Liesel Meminger appears in The Book Thief. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Arrival on Himmel Street
Death Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon
...that no one has noticed except for the girl, Werner's older sister, whose name is Liesel Meminger. (full context)
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Words and Language Theme Icon
Liesel had been asleep and dreaming about the Führer, Adolf Hitler, giving a speech with words... (full context)
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Two days later two gravediggers bury Werner as Liesel and her mother watch. The younger gravedigger accidentally drops a book from his coat pocket... (full context)
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Death continues to narrate, though he is no longer an eyewitness. Liesel and her mother board a train to Munich, where Liesel is going to be handed... (full context)
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They arrive in Munich and Liesel's mother has to explain to the authorities why Werner isn't there. She says goodbye to... (full context)
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...Hans Hubermann is tall and Rosa Hubermann is short and round with an angry face. Liesel refuses to leave the car. People on the street start to gather around until Rosa... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
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Liesel carries in her suitcase, which contains the book that she took from the cemetery, the... (full context)
Part 1: Growing Up a Saumensch
Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
...he wonders when was the exact time that books and words became so important to Liesel. She will steal six books in her "career," and have four other important books given... (full context)
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Liesel is undernourished and cold when she arrives at Himmel street. She has lived in cramped... (full context)
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Rosa Hubermann makes the biggest initial impact on Liesel because of her cursing. Rosa yells at Liesel (and Hans) for everything, and calls them... (full context)
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Hans intervenes quietly and spends a long time teaching Liesel how to roll a cigarette, which puts her more at ease. Death gives a few... (full context)
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...ironing for a few wealthy families, is a bad cook, and aggravates everyone. She loves Liesel but shows her love in strange, abusive ways. When Liesel finally takes a bath Rosa... (full context)
Part 1: The Woman with the Iron Fist
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Liesel start having nightmares every night about her dead brother. She wakes up screaming and Hans... (full context)
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Liesel feels like The Grave Digger's Handbook is her last link to her brother and mother.... (full context)
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At school Liesel is put with much younger children because she can't read or write. There are no... (full context)
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In February Liesel turns ten, and the Hubermanns give her a secondhand doll. She also has to enroll... (full context)
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...leaves in the evenings to go play his accordion at a pub. His disappearance makes Liesel uneasy, but he always returns in time to save her from her nightmares. (full context)
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Rosa constantly argues and curses, even when there is no one to argue with. Sometimes Liesel goes with her to pick up the washing from the wealthy parts of town. Rosa... (full context)
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...spits on their door whenever she walks past because of some old feud with Rosa. Liesel has to clean the spit off every night, and sometimes she lingers afterward to look... (full context)
Part 1: The Kiss (A Childhood Decision Maker)
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...whose son Rudy is obsessed with the American athlete Jesse Owens. He is to become Liesel's best friend. (full context)
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Liesel goes out into the street where the neighborhood kids are playing soccer. Liesel has to... (full context)
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...of "The Jesse Owens Incident," which will be explained later. Rudy seems destined to be Liesel's best friend. He starts to walk to school with her and tell her about the... (full context)
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Rudy starts to spend time with Liesel at school too, and Death implies that he is already in love with her. One... (full context)
Part 1: The Jesse Owens Incident
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Death begins to tell the story of the "Jesse Owens Incident," which occurred before Liesel's arrival on Himmel Street, in 1936, during the Olympics that took place in Hitler's Germany.... (full context)
Part 1: The Other Side of Sandpaper
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Death then describes a similarly defining incident for Liesel. One day in May there is a big parade of the Nazi Party, and everyone... (full context)
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That night Liesel wakes up screaming as usual, but this time she realizes she has wet the bed... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
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...First Hans admits that he is not a very good reader, and he asks where Liesel got the book, but he doesn't mind that she took it. He starts to read... (full context)
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They start over and Hans writes out the alphabet on the back of some sandpaper. Liesel practices, and gets stuck on "S" until she thinks of saumensch. Hans draws a stick... (full context)
Part 1: The Smell of Friendship
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Hans and Liesel continue their lessons every night after Liesel wakes up from her nightmares. One day Hans... (full context)
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Liesel and Hans practice by the Amper River when the weather is good, and otherwise in... (full context)
Part 1: The Heavyweight Champion of the School-Yard
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Soon afterward Liesel starts school again. She is moved up to her proper age level, but she is... (full context)
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...at a time, and read something out loud. The teacher, Sister Maria, tries to excuse Liesel from the test but Liesel insists that she wants to read. She gets up and... (full context)
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During their break a boy named Ludwig Schmeikl taunts Liesel and calls her an idiot. Liesel snaps and starts beating him up and cursing him... (full context)
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On the way home with Rudy, Liesel is suddenly struck by despair and she crouches in a gutter, crying for her dead... (full context)
Part 2: A Girl Made of Darkness
Death Theme Icon
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Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
...book burnings offered a perfect opportunity for someone predisposed to thievery. Looking back on it, Liesel will feel proud to have saved The Shoulder Shrug from the flames. But first Death... (full context)
Part 2: The Joy of Cigarettes
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By the end of 1939 Liesel is starting to feel at home on Himmel Street, and she loves Hans (her Papa... (full context)
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One night Liesel and Hans stay up until dawn and finish the book at last. When they are... (full context)
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For the rest of her school term Liesel keeps her head down and practices her reading, and eventually Sister Maria's anger with her... (full context)
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A few days after Christmas Liesel asks Hans and Rosa how they afforded two books, and they tell her that Hans... (full context)
Part 2: The Town Walker
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...to employ her anymore because of war rationing, which infuriates Rosa. She decides to make Liesel deliver the washing from now on, as she is more pitiable-looking and harder to fire.... (full context)
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...day at school the children are supposed to write letters to each other, which gives Liesel the idea to write to her mother. Hans is visibly uncomfortable when she asks him... (full context)
Part 2: Dead Letters
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Liesel keeps searching the mailbox for a letter that will never come, and it makes Hans... (full context)
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Liesel goes through with her plan. She admits what she has done to Rosa and gets... (full context)
Part 2: Hitler's Birthday, 1940
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Hans Junior and Hans start to argue, and Hans Junior calls Liesel's books "trash" – she should be reading Mein Kampf instead. Hans Junior keeps arguing and... (full context)
Part 2: 100 Percent Pure German Sweat
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Liesel marches with the rest of the youth and can't help feeling proud. Everything goes smoothly... (full context)
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...salutes Hitler and then gives a speech about the evils of Communists and Jews. When Liesel hears this she realizes why her family has been destroyed, and she feels sick. She... (full context)
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Ludwig Schmeikl finds Liesel and helps her through the crowd. He has broken his ankle in the confusion and... (full context)
Part 2: The Gates of Thievery
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Liesel waits on the steps of a church watching the book-burning die down to ash, until... (full context)
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Hans wants to hug her for this, but instead he slaps Liesel in the face and makes her promise to never say such a thing again, especially... (full context)
Part 2: Book of Fire
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Hans and Liesel start to walk home, but they are stopped by a man who asks Hans if... (full context)
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Liesel slips the book under her uniform and it starts to warm her chest. Then she... (full context)
Part 3: The Way Home
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On the way back to Himmel street the burning book becomes too painful and Liesel has to take it out from under her uniform. Hans is shocked to see it,... (full context)
Part 3: The Mayor's Library
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Liesel worries about delivering the washing to the mayor's wife, and wonders what kind of punishment... (full context)
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The next time Liesel goes without Rudy, though, and Frau Hermann makes her wait. Then she returns with a... (full context)
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Liesel takes the washing and leaves, but then feels guilty and rude for not thanking Frau... (full context)
Part 3: The Attributes of Summer
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Liesel and Hans start to make their way through The Shoulder Shrug, which has a Jew... (full context)
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...the library becomes more comfortable to read in as it isn't so cold. One day Liesel sees a boy's name, Johann Hermann, written in one of the books. Frau Hermann finally... (full context)
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Liesel keeps playing soccer on Himmel Street and Tommy Müller finally stops being afraid of her.... (full context)
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...adventure is stealing apples from an orchard surrounded by barbed wire. They are successful, and Liesel eats so many apples that she throws up later at dinnertime. Rosa is furious, but... (full context)
Part 3: The Aryan Shopkeeper
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One day in August Rudy and Liesel find a coin on the ground, and they take it to Frau Diller's shop. She... (full context)
Part 3: Tricksters
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Rosa loses another customer, and Liesel and Rudy go on a few more stealing exploits with their gang. One day the... (full context)
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Liesel and Rudy go stealing again with Arthur Berg's gang, but this time Rudy gets stuck... (full context)
Part 4: A Good Girl
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
...closing the curtains and checking for witnesses. Max crouches down, overcome with gratitude, and then Liesel appears. Hans reassures Max that she is "a good girl," and sends Liesel to bed,... (full context)
Part 4: The Wrath of Rosa
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Liesel is awakened by Rosa's voice, and she expects her to launch into a tirade, but... (full context)
Part 4: Liesel's Lecture
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Death emphasizes the danger of the situation in the Hubermann household now. Max sleeps in Liesel's room, in the empty bed once intended for Werner. The next day the Hubermanns keep... (full context)
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Hans lists what will happen if Liesel mentions Max to anyone, and he tries to be harsh to make sure she understands:... (full context)
Part 4: The Sleeper
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Max sleeps for three days straight, and Liesel watches him. Sometimes in his sleep he says the names of his family members, Walter,... (full context)
Part 4: The Swapping of Nightmares
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Max sleeps in the cold basement after that, and is embarrassed that he slept in Liesel's room. He feels that he deserves only table scraps, but Rosa promises to feed him,... (full context)
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The Hubermanns make Liesel visit the basement, and she nervously starts to ask if Mein Kampf is a good... (full context)
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...night Hans wants to start up their reading practice of The Shoulder Shrug again, but Liesel is nervous about going into the basement. They finally go down, and Hans sees that... (full context)
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One night Max overhears Liesel telling Hans that Max's hair is "like feathers." Later she asks about Mein Kampf, and... (full context)
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Hans tells Liesel that Max has nightmares like she does, and one night Liesel gets out of bed... (full context)
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In February of 1941 Liesel turns twelve, and the Hubermanns give her a book called The Mud Men. Max apologizes... (full context)
Part 4: Pages from the Basement
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For a week the Hubermanns keep Liesel from going to the basement by giving her chores or making excuses. During that time... (full context)
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...is about all the people that have stood over him during his life, ending with Liesel watching him sleep, and then the two trading dreams and becoming friends. The last page... (full context)
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Max enters silently one early morning and delivers the book as a late birthday present. Liesel wakes up later and read it, and thinks about the words of Mein Kampf suffocating... (full context)
Part 5: The Floating Book (Part 1)
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...the cold Amper River to fetch a book, and then standing in the water, asking Liesel for a kiss. Death then reveals Rudy's death, which will take place two years later... (full context)
Part 5: The Gambler (A Seven-Sided Die)
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...getting a haircut. Rosa and Hans argue about who will do it, but Max asks Liesel. She cuts his "feathery" hair and burns the evidence. (full context)
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Later Liesel is in the mayor's library and she imagines confessing to Ilsa Hermann that there is... (full context)
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One day Liesel rushes into the house, boasting about the goals she scored in soccer, and then she... (full context)
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...The whole country of Germany climbs into the ring and beats on Max. Last comes Liesel, and she hands him a crossword. (full context)
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One day Liesel come downstairs and Max is doing push-ups. He tells her about his new daydream, and... (full context)
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...this last side is unlucky. In June of 1941, Germany invades the Soviet Union, and Liesel and Max see the mayor in the newspaper telling people to prepare for hard times.... (full context)
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Liesel sits on the mayor's steps and reads the letter, getting very angry at the mayor... (full context)
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When she gets home Liesel feels guilty and pretends that Frau Hermann fired her because she insulted her, but Rosa... (full context)
Part 5: Rudy's Youth
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...Deutscher makes them both do laps and push-ups on a muddy field. Later they tell Liesel about it and Tommy tries to apologize to Rudy. Rudy asks Liesel for a kiss,... (full context)
Part 5: The Losers
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Liesel and Rudy return to apple-thieving, but the old gang has a rich, charismatic new leader... (full context)
Part 5: Sketches
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...random sketches that feel real to him. He intends to give this new book to Liesel when she is older. (full context)
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One day Liesel comes downstairs and finds Max asleep, and she looks at two pages of his book.... (full context)
Part 5: The Whistler and the Shoes
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Max, Liesel, and Rudy continue their respective activities into the fall, but change comes when Franz Deutscher... (full context)
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On their fifth visit the window is open, and Liesel decides to go in. Rudy thinks they are trying to steal food, but Liesel secretly... (full context)
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Liesel goes through the window and looks for The Whistler. Rudy sees a light go on... (full context)
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On their way home Liesel describes The Whistler and defends Rosa when Rudy implies she might get angry at Liesel.... (full context)
Part 5: Three Acts of Stupidity by Rudy Steiner
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...later Rudy sees Deutscher walking on Munich Street and Rudy throws a rock at him. Liesel is there too, and she has to watch Deutscher and some other older boys beat... (full context)
Part 5: The Floating Book (Part II)
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One day in December Rudy and Liesel (who is carrying The Whistler) take a back way to avoid Franz Deutscher, and instead... (full context)
Part 6: The Snowman
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On Christmas Eve Liesel brings down handfuls of snow for Max to taste. Then she gathers more and builds... (full context)
Part 6: Thirteen Presents
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Liesel sits and talks to Max, but he keeps sleeping for days. Death visits Himmel Street,... (full context)
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From then on Liesel keeps bringing Max little presents from the outside world. They are small and seemingly insignificant,... (full context)
Part 6: Fresh Air, an Old Nightmare, and what to do with a Jewish Corpse
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One day Rudy and Liesel are by the Amper River when Liesel decides she wants to steal another book from... (full context)
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Liesel starts reading the new book to Max. After the coma has lasted a month everyone... (full context)
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Eight days later Rosa finds Liesel at school, pretending that she's mad at her for losing her brush. Rosa takes her... (full context)
Part 6: The Visitor
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Back in Molching, Liesel is playing soccer one day when Nazis arrive to check if each house's basement is... (full context)
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...warn Max to hide, and the Nazi enters. He is very friendly and jokes with Liesel, and then checks the basement for three excruciating minutes. The man doesn't notice anything, and... (full context)
Part 6: The Schmunzeler
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There is another knock at the door, but this time it's only Rudy checking on Liesel. He lingers at the door asking questions and makes Liesel nervous, but she tells him... (full context)
Part 7: Champagne and Accordions
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...works for cheap. When people can't pay, he lets them trade cigarettes or a cookie. Liesel goes with him, and Hans tells stories and plays the accordion. Liesel is happy during... (full context)
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...asks a wealthy customer to pay for his painting services with champagne, as he wants Liesel to try it. Later she vows to never drink champagne again, as it could never... (full context)
Part 7: The Trilogy
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While Liesel is working, Rudy trains for an upcoming Hitler Youth carnival. He wants to win gold... (full context)
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...next two races, but he gets disqualified from the fourth for false-starting. Afterwards he tells Liesel that he got himself disqualified on purpose, but he won't explain why. He lets her... (full context)
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That night Liesel tells Max about Rudy and then they both go back to their projects: Max to... (full context)
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A week later, Rudy brings Liesel back up to Grande Strasse (the mayor's street) and they see that there is a... (full context)
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Liesel and Rudy stop at the bridge and open the book, and inside is a note... (full context)
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Liesel makes Rudy wait and she returns to the mayor's house. She tries to knock on... (full context)
Part 7: The Sound of Sirens
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...behind. The people of Himmel Street all gather there, each carrying their most precious possessions. Liesel watches the people who look the most afraid. After a while everyone is silent and... (full context)
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...pity them, but not as much as he pities the Jews in the concentration camps. Liesel herself is worried about Max, alone in the unsafe basement. Finally the sirens sound again,... (full context)
Part 7: The Sky Stealer
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...Street gather again, and this time there is even more tension in the Fiedlers' basement. Liesel starts to read The Whistler out loud to comfort herself, but soon everyone falls silent... (full context)
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The Hubermanns return home and Rosa proudly tells Max what Liesel did. At that moment Max conceives the idea for his next book, The Word Shaker.... (full context)
Part 7: Frau Holtzapfel's Offer
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...enemy, knocks on the Hubermanns' door. She is as rude as ever, but she asks Liesel to finish reading The Whistler to her, as she liked what she heard in the... (full context)
Part 7: The Long Walk to Dachau
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...carrying Jews stop outside Molching, and the soldiers decide to march the Jews through town. Liesel is playing soccer when the kids hear the sound of shuffling feet approaching. An old... (full context)
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Liesel and Rudy help up Hans. Most of the crowd calls him a "Jew lover" and... (full context)
Part 7: Peace
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That night Max flees the Hubermann house. He leaves Liesel a present hidden somewhere, and the family silently watches him walk away. Hans had arranged... (full context)
Part 7: The Idiot and the Coat Men
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...as "the idiot," and describes him sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for the Gestapo. Liesel is in her room, praying for Max. When the Gestapo doesn't come, Hans is almost... (full context)
Part 8: The Thought of Rudy Naked
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...will be accepted. The story jumps to the present, and Rudy describes his experience to Liesel. For a few days Liesel can't help thinking of Rudy being examined naked. (full context)
Part 8: Punishment
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...two days later he gets a letter drafting him into the army. Rosa cries and Liesel feels sick as she reads the letter. Later Liesel describes the sky sadly to the... (full context)
Part 8: The Promise Keeper's Wife
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...him up. He leaves a few hours later, and as he says goodbye he calls Liesel "half a woman" and asks her to take care of Rosa and his accordion, and... (full context)
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Alex Steiner leaves four days later, and both Rudy and Liesel are depressed. After a few days Rudy asks Liesel to follow him somewhere, and they... (full context)
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That night Liesel wakes up and sees Rosa sitting at the foot of the bed with Hans's accordion... (full context)
Part 8: The Collector
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...then finds the boy's mother looking for him. That night Hans writes a letter to Liesel and Rosa, but he gives no details and pretends everything is fine. (full context)
Part 8: The Bread Eaters
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1942 comes to an end, and Liesel spends most of her time thinking of Hans, Max, and Alex Steiner. She keeps reading... (full context)
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At the next parade of Jews, Rudy and Liesel ride their bikes ahead of it, scattering some bread in the road and then hiding... (full context)
Part 8: The Hidden Sketchbook
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There is another raid before Christmas, and everyone in the shelter listens as Liesel reads The Whistler. When Liesel and Rosa return home, Rosa cuts open a bedsheet and... (full context)
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...its fallen trunk and watch the rest of the crowd dispersing back into the woods. Liesel finishes the story and wonders where in those woods Max is now. She falls asleep... (full context)
Part 8: The Anarchist's Suit Collection
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On Christmas Eve Liesel decides to give Rudy a present, so she goes with him and they break into... (full context)
Part 9: The Next Temptation
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Liesel and Rudy return to the mayor's house to steal a book, but this time Frau... (full context)
Part 9: The Snows of Stalingrad
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One day in January Liesel goes to read to Frau Holtzapfel, but her son Michael answers the door, wrapped in... (full context)
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Liesel returns to Frau Holtzapfel's house to find her sitting in a state of shock. Death... (full context)
Part 9: The Ageless Brother
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Liesel returns the cookie plate to Ilsa Hermann's front door, but she doesn't go inside. She... (full context)
Part 9: The Bitter Taste of Questions
In February Liesel gets a letter from Hans describing his situation, and she and Rosa are ecstatic. Liesel... (full context)
Part 9: One Toolbox, One Bleeder, One Bear
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...world keeps growing and he gathers a toolbox of things to help him in stealing. Liesel sees him leaving and catches up with him. She asks him about the teddy bear... (full context)
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...it does no good. Rosa and Michael are ready to get in the shelter, but Liesel stays to tell Frau Holtzapfel that she'll stop reading to her if she doesn't come.... (full context)
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...wants to die. Suddenly Frau Holtzapfel appears and starts to tending to Michael's bleeding hand. Liesel reads out loud throughout the long night. (full context)
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...the Amper River. Rudy runs towards it even as Death himself comes for the pilot. Liesel catches up with Rudy and they survey the fire, the wreckage, and the pilot, who... (full context)
Part 9: Homecoming
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...from the hospital. He comes home at night and everyone is overjoyed, and he tells Liesel and Rosa the details of his experience in the LSE. That night he sits with... (full context)
Part 10: The End of the World (Part I)
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...come for Rudy, Rosa, Hans, Frau Holtzapfel, Frau Diller, and Tommy Müller, but not for Liesel. Liesel will survive because she is in the basement reading over her own life story.... (full context)
Part 10: The Ninety-Eighth Day
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...of contentment after Hans comes home. There are a few more parades of Jews, but Liesel does not see Max among them. On the ninety-eighth day, however, Michael Holtzapfel hangs himself.... (full context)
Part 10: The War Maker
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After the funeral for Michael Holtzapfel, Liesel reads The Dream Carrier to Frau Holtzapfel as usual. Death describes how busy he is... (full context)
Part 10: Way of the Words
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There is another parade of Jews down Munich Street, and again Liesel looks for Max. This time she sees him, as he also searches the crowd for... (full context)
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A soldier sees Liesel and drags her away from Max, throwing her to the ground. Liesel gets up and... (full context)
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Max is dragged on with the rest of the prisoners and Liesel tries to follow him again, but Rudy tackles her and pins her to the ground.... (full context)
Part 10: Confessions
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Liesel silently goes to the train station to wait for Hans to return from work. Rudy... (full context)
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When she finally gets up, Liesel finds Rudy and tells him about Max after making him promise many times to keep... (full context)
Part 10: Ilsa Hermann's Little Black Book
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Liesel heads towards the mayor's house, hoping to steal something to cheer herself up. On the... (full context)
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Liesel climbs through the library window and sits on the floor. She thinks about all the... (full context)
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After her outburst Liesel feels guilty, and she writes Frau Hermann an apologetic note mentioning that she "wanted to... (full context)
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Three days later Ilsa Hermann shows up at the Hubermanns' door. She tells Liesel that she can write well, and gives her a little black notebook. Ilsa says that... (full context)
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Death explains that Ilsa has given Liesel not just a book, but a reason to see that words can also be used... (full context)
Part 10: The Rib-Cage Planes
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That first night Liesel writes eleven pages, starting with her brother's death and finding The Grave Digger's Handbook in... (full context)
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Liesel is finished with her book by the time Death comes for Himmel Street, but she... (full context)
Part 10: The End of the World (Part II)
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...heart. After the bombing Death lingers, and he sees the men of the LSE pull Liesel from the rubble. (full context)
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Liesel wanders around, confused because none of the buildings are there. She carries her book with... (full context)
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Next Liesel finds Rosa and Hans, and she repeats out loud her best memories, and she truly... (full context)
Epilogue: Death and Liesel
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...he will be as straightforward as possible with the rest of the story. He says Liesel died "yesterday," at an old age in Sydney, Australia. The sky was clear and blue.... (full context)
Epilogue: Wood in the Afternoon
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The story returns to just after the bombing of Molching. Liesel was the only survivor of Himmel Street, and she is taken to the police clinging... (full context)
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A few months later Liesel returns to Himmel Street to look for her books, but there is nothing but rubble.... (full context)
Epilogue: Max
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After the war, after Death has come for Hitler, Alex Steiner reopens his shop and Liesel starts to spend a lot of time with him and to work with him there.... (full context)
Epilogue: The Handover Man
...and The Book Thief is one of these. When Death comes to Sydney to collect Liesel's soul, he takes a walk with her and shows her the book he save from... (full context)