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y separately published work icon The Book Thief single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2005... 2005 The Book Thief
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single, unfamiliar word - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.'

[Source: Libraries Australia. Sighted 30/10/08]

Adaptations

The Book Thief Heidi Stillman , 2012 single work drama 'Liesel Meminger is a young girl struggling to survive in Nazi Germany. Her life is filled with risk and danger but her love of books guides her through a brutal world. Death watches over her, fascinated by humankind's will to live. The Book Thief looks at the terrible cost of violence, bearing witness to our compassion and complicity. When Death tells a story, you listen.'

Source: Steppenwolf Theatre Company website, http://www.steppenwolf.org
Sighted: 24/10/2012
form y separately published work icon The Book Thief Michael Petroni , ( dir. Brian Percival ) United States of America (USA) : Fox 2000 Pictures Studio Babelsberg , 2013 6342507 2013 single work film/TV

An adaptation of Marcus Zusak's novel.

Teaching Resources

Teaching Resources

This work has teaching resources.

Notes

  • Dedication: For Elizabeth and Helmut Zusak, with love and admiration.
  • Included on the United States Board on Books for Young People and the Children's Book Council (US) 2006 Outstanding International Booklist.
  • Selected in 2012 by Chicage Public Library for 'One Book, One Chicago'.
  • Ranked #2 in ABC1's First Tuesday Book Club '10 Aussie Books to Read Before You Die' 2012 voting ballot.
  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording and large print.

Affiliation Notes

  • This work is affiliated with the AustLit subset Asian-Australian Children's Literature and Publishing because it has Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean translations.

    The Book Thief is indexed as an adult book, but the affiliation applies because it has been reviewed as a young adult text, and has also won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Picador , 2005 .
      image of person or book cover 7303716574076816538.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 584p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 033036426X
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Knopf ,
      2006 .
      image of person or book cover 7399153637148600301.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 552p.
      Edition info: 1st American ed.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 0375931007 (lib. bdg.), 9780385611466 (hbk.), 9780385611473 (pbk.), 0375831002 (trade)
    • c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Doubleday ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 1410356000692302922.jpg
      Extent: 584p.
      ISBN: 9780370329215 (Bodley Head hbk), 9780385611466 (Doubleday hbk)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Black Swan ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 5078615538006134841.jpg
      Extent: 553p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 9780552773898 (pbk.)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Definitions ,
      2008 .
      image of person or book cover 312361633326736707.jpg
      Extent: 583p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 186230291X (pbk.), 9781862302914 (pbk.)
    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Pan Macmillan Australia , 2013 .
      image of person or book cover 6859834397134732440.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 592p.
      Edition info: Film tie-in edition
      Note/s:
      • Published 1 November 2013
      ISBN: 9781742613314 (paperback)
Language: Italian
    • Milan,
      c
      Italy,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Frassinelli ,
      2007 .
      image of person or book cover 6842398125166975022.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: La bambina che salvava i libri
      Extent: 563p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 8876849432, 9788876849435
      Series: Narrativa Frassinelli Frassinelli (publisher), series - publisher Number in series: 330
    • Milan,
      c
      Italy,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Sperling & Kupfer ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 4562738241625006702.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: Storia di una ladra di libri
      Extent: 563p.p.
      Edition info: Film tie-in edition.
      ISBN: 9788868363048, 8868363046

Works about this Work

Pushing Aside the Nazi : Personal and Collective Exculpation and the Everyday German in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief Kirril Shields , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Dapim : Studies on the Holocaust , vol. 30 no. 1 2016; (p. 1-15)

'In this paper I argue that Markus Zusak's The Book Thief allows for the personal and collective exculpation of the common or ‘ordinary’ citizens of Germany who lived through the Third Reich. By drawing on the German historian Martin Broszat and his historiographical study of ‘everyday’ life under Nazi rule, I establish that the novel creates a number of contentious themes. First, it suggests that the Nazis were a group who resided on the periphery of German society, and that the rise of Hitler's Third Reich was unpopular among the general German population. Second, while Germans later became victims of Allied bombings and/or Russian invasion, the population was also victim to the nation's political situation. In arguing that German citizens were victims of the Nazis, The Book Thief separates a supposed ‘demonic’ social minority from the ‘everyday’ working class. Depicting the German lower classes as innocent bystanders or victims, the book allows its readers and, in particular, its German readers, to reflect upon this tumultuous historical period with some cultural and social moral fortitude intact. Furthermore, the paper suggests that this novel is just one example of a corpus of Australian texts that have, in recent years, reconfigured traditional literary representations of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.'

Source: Abstract.

Readers Again Pick 'Book Thief' as Favourite Rosemary Neill , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 30 March 2016; (p. 15)

'For the third consecutive year, the local young adult title The Book Thief has snaffled the No 1 spot in the Dymocks Top 101 survey, an annual list of readers’ favourite books' (Rosemary Neill).

Haunted by Humans : Inverting the Reality of the Holocaust in Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief Aliona Yarova , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , vol. 24 no. 1 2016; (p. 54-81)

The Book Thief "is set in a realistically depicted German town and could belong to the genre of historical realism were it not that Liesel’s story is narrated by the other-worldly character: Death. Death is the only unreal character in this otherwise realistic novel, and though he does not interact with real human characters, we see all the events through his eyes. This ‘magical’ narrator unveils a broader history of the war and the Holocaust by questioning: What is real? What is normal? What is humane? The inversion enables Zusak to present horror that would otherwise be too complex to grasp. As Hegerfeldt comments: ‘The world is an absurd place where [...] anything is more believable than the truth. Magic realist fiction proposes that such a topsy-turvy reality requires a similarly inverted approach’ (Hegerfeldt 2005, p. 339). In order to clarify how inversion works, I focus on four central binarisms evident in Death’s narrative: the portrayal of the supernatural as natural; humans as ghosts; real as surreal; and presenting life as death. Although these categories are somewhat over-simplified, I suggest that for the child and young adult reader this inversion creates the image of the war as something completely irrational and abnormal. Although the novel has attracted adult readers, my interest lies in explicating how this narrative strategy increases the potential for younger readers to engage with horrifying material, without assuming that they have prior knowledge of the historical events. Inversion is a writing strategy which seems particularly well suited to reaching a YA readership, encouraging teenagers to read about a topic they might otherwise avoid. The goal of this paper is to clarify how this strategy functions in The Book Thief and the subsequent demands it makes of its readers." (Introduction)

Machinic Liaisons : Death's Dance with Children in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief Marcus P. J. Bohlmann , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Global Perspectives on Death in Children's Literature 2015; (p. 255-269)
A Series of Fortunate Readers : A Collaborative Review Article of Important Australasian YA Writing Jessica Seymour , Denise Beckton , Eugen Bacon , Donna Lee Brien , Gyps Curmi , Maree Kimberley , Jodi McAlister , Catriona Mills , Shivaun Plozza , 2015 single work review
— Appears in: TEXT : Special Issue Website Series , October no. 32 2015;

— Review of Hitler's Daughter Jackie French , 1999 single work children's fiction ; The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel ; Jasper Jones Craig Silvey , 2009 single work novel ; Tribe Ambelin Kwaymullina , 2012- series - author novel ; The Obernewtyn Chronicles Isobelle Carmody , 1987 series - author novel ; Waiting for the End of the World Lee Harding , 1983 single work novel ; On the Jellicoe Road Melina Marchetta , 2006 single work novel ; The Incredible Adventures Of Cinnamon Girl Melissa Keil , 2014 single work novel
End of Innocence Sally Blakeney , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 13 September vol. 123 no. 6487 2005; (p. 68-69)

— Review of Once Morris Gleitzman , 2005 single work children's fiction ; East of Time Jacob G. Rosenberg , 2005 single work autobiography ; The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel
Words as Crumbs that Lead to Salvation Sara Dowse , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 10 September 2005; (p. 17)

— Review of The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel
Stolen Books from a Stolen Childhood Peter Pierce , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 10 September 2005; (p. 5)

— Review of The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel
Reading the Horror Alan Gold , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 24-25 September 2005; (p. 15)

— Review of The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel
Of Life and Death Katharine England , 2005 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 1 October 2005; (p. 12)

— Review of The Book Thief Markus Zusak , 2005 single work novel
The Face : Rosemary Neill Meets Markus Zusak : Writer Rosemary Neill , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 3-4 September 2005; (p. 3)
Hope Amid the Flames Sunanda Creagh , 2005 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 24-25 September 2005; (p. 20-21)
Big Words from the Smallest Rooms Susan Wyndham , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 1-2 April 2006; (p. 19)
A column canvassing current literary news including Marcus Zusak's success in the USA literary market and the reliablity (or otherwise) of bookselling statistics in Australia.
Life During the Holocaust Inspires Voice of Death Lisa Leff , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 22 April 2006; (p. 11)
Undercover Susan Wyndham , 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 22-23 April 2006; (p. 30)
A column canvassing current literary news including the re-vamping of Australian Author and the overseas reception of Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief.
Last amended 24 Jan 2018 16:01:25
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