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25 Local Warehouse Children's- Historical Fiction- Holocaust
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The Book Thief


The Book Thief Cover

ISBN13: 9780385754729
ISBN10: 0385754728
All Product Details





First the colors.

Then the humans.

That's usually how I see things.

Or at least, how I try.


You are going to die.

I am in all truthfulness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations. Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that's only the A's. Just don't ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.

***Reaction to the  ***


Does this worry you?

I urge you--don't be afraid.

I'm nothing if not fair.

--Of course, an introduction.

A beginning.

Where are my manners?

I could introduce myself properly, but it's not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.

At that moment, you will be lying there (I rarely find people standing up). You will be caked in your own body. There might be a discovery; a scream will dribble down the air. The only sound I'll hear after that will be my own breathing, and the sound of the smell, of my footsteps.

The question is, what color will everything be at that moment when I come for you? What will the sky be saying?

Personally, I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate. People say it suits me. I do, however, try to enjoy every color I see--the whole spectrum. A billion or so flavors, none of them quite the same, and a sky to slowly suck on. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax.


People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it's quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment.

A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors.

Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses.

In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

As I've been alluding to, my one saving grace is distraction. It keeps me sane. It helps me cope, considering the length of time I've been performing this job. The trouble is, who could ever replace me? Who could step in while I take a break in your stock-standard resort-style vacation destination, whether it be tropical or of the ski trip variety? The answer, of course, is nobody, which has prompted me to make a conscious, deliberate decision--to make distraction my vacation. Needless to say, I vacation in increments. In colors.

Still, it's possible that you might be asking, why does he even need a vacation? What does he need distraction from?

Which brings me to my next point.

It's the leftover humans.

The survivors.

They're the ones I can't stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.

Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. It's the story of one of those perpetual survivors--an expert at being left behind.

It's just a small story really, about, among other things:

* A girl

* Some words

* An accordionist

* Some fanatical Germans

* A Jewish fist fighter

* And quite a lot of thievery

I saw the book thief three times.


First up is something white. Of the blinding kind.

Some of you are most likely thinking that white is not really a color and all of that tired sort of nonsense. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is. White is without question a color, and personally, I don't think you want to argue with me.


Please, be calm, despite that previous threat.

I am all bluster--

I am not violent.

I am not malicious.

I am a result.

Yes, it was white.

It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.

As you might expect, someone had died.

They couldn't just leave him on the ground. For now, it wasn't such a problem, but very soon, the track ahead would be cleared and the train would need to move on.

There were two guards.

There was one mother and her daughter.

One corpse.

The mother, the girl, and the corpse remained stubborn and silent.

"Well, what else do you want me to do?"

The guards were tall and short. The tall one always spoke first, though he was not in charge. He looked at the smaller, rounder one. The one with the juicy red face.

"Well," was the response, "we can't just leave them like this, can we?"

The tall one was losing patience. "Why not?"

And the smaller one damn near exploded. He looked up at the tall one's chin and cried, "Spinnst du! Are you stupid?!" The abhorrence on his cheeks was growing thicker by the moment. His skin widened. "Come on," he said, traipsing over the snow. "We'll carry all three of them back on if we have to. We'll notify the next stop."

As for me, I had already made the most elementary of mistakes. I can't explain to you the severity of my self-disappointment. Originally, I'd done everything right:

I studied the blinding, white-snow sky who stood at the window of the moving train. I practically inhaled it, but still, I wavered. I buckled--I became interested. In the girl. Curiosity got the better of me, and I resigned myself to stay as long as my schedule allowed, and I watched.

Twenty-three minutes later, when the train was stopped, I climbed out with them.

A small soul was in my arms.

I stood a little to the right.

The dynamic train guard duo made their way back to the mother, the girl, and the small male corpse. I clearly remember that my breath was loud that day. I'm surprised the guards didn't notice me as they walked by. The world was sagging now, under the weight of all that snow.

Perhaps ten meters to my left, the pale, empty-stomached girl was standing, frost-stricken.

Her mouth jittered.

Her cold arms were folded.

Tears were frozen to the book thief's face.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

amethystlindell, July 8, 2015 (view all comments by amethystlindell)
This book is a beautiful piece of art.Markus Zusak should write poetry,the way this book was written was a delight to read.Every book lover should take time to read this and when you finish,watch the movie which is also good.The plot is sad,yet shows the beauty of life. l My only slight problem with this story is that the writing,although beautifully described,was rather distracting and I found it hard to actually concentrate on the story.
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zakniederer, November 21, 2014 (view all comments by zakniederer)
Book Review:
Let me start off by saying how intrigued I was by this book. I'm a person who is so fascinated by anything and everything related to the Holocaust. Whether it be literature or film, I love learning about the events, both good and bad that surrounded this time period and everything that went on during the middle years to this time frame.
Set in Germany in the years 1939-1943, The Book Thief is the story of Liesel Meminger, narrated by an unknown person identified as Death. Both characters are book thieves. Liesel steals randomly at first, and later more methodically however, she is never greedy. Death pockets Liesel's notebook after she leaves it, forgotten in her grief, amongst the destruction that was once her street, her home, and carries it with him.
Many things save this book from being all-out depressing though. It's never gloomy, for a start. A lively humor is seen through pages, and the richness of the descriptions of the characters' hearts cannot fail to lift you up. Also, it's great to read such a balanced story, where ordinary Germans - even those who are blond and blue-eyed - are as much at risk of losing their lives, of being persecuted, as the Jews themselves.
I also really liked the way Zusak wrote this book. He used a lot of very good imagery that made the book seem easier to read. A good example of this strong imagery was a quote that says “As he looked uncomfortably at the human shape before him, the young mans voice was scraped out and handed across the dark like it was all that remained of him” (187). To me, this is one of the strongest uses of imagery in the whole novel. The way he describes the interaction between these two men creates a strong visual image that this man is very alienated and differentiated.
Writing like this is not something just anyone can do: it's true art. Only a writer of Zusak's talent could make this story work, and could get away with such a proliferation of adjectives and adverbs, to write in such a way as to revitalise the language and use words to paint emotion and a vivid visual landscape in a way you'd never before encountered. This is a book about the power of words and language, and it is fitting that it is written in just such this way.
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Product Details

Zusak, Markus
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Historical - Holocaust
Children s-Historical Fiction-Holocaust
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 7
8.25 x 5.51 x 1.21 in 1.1 lb
Age Level:
from 12

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Related Subjects

Children's » Books and Libraries
Children's » Historical Fiction » Holocaust
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Young Adult » General

The Book Thief Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.99 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - English 9780385754729 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The Book Thief is unsettling and unsentimental, yet ultimately poetic. Its grimness and tragedy run through the reader's mind like a black-and-white movie, bereft of the colors of life. Zusak may not have lived under Nazi domination, but The Book Thief deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel's Night. It seems poised to become a classic."
"Review" by , "Zusak doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor.”
"Review" by , "Elegant, philosophical and moving....Beautiful and important."
"Review" by , "This hefty volume is an achievement...a challenging book in both length and subject..."
"Review" by , "One of the most highly anticipated young-adult books in years."
"Review" by , "Exquisitely written and memorably populated, Zusak's poignant tribute to words, survival, and their curiously inevitable entwinement is a tour de force to be not just read but inhabited."
"Review" by , "An extraordinary narrative."
"Review" by , "The Book Thief will be appreciated for Mr. Zusak's audacity, also on display in his earlier I Am the Messenger. It will be widely read and admired because it tells a story in which books become treasures. And because there's no arguing with a sentiment like that."
"Synopsis" by , Its just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist — books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

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