The Book Thief NotesPrologueThe story is narrated by deathDeath meets the “book thief” 3 timesPart 1Liesel, the “book thief,” is traveling with her younger brother Werner and her mother on a train to get dropped off at their new foster parents.Liesel dreamt of Hitler speaking at a rally, he smiled at her, she tried tried to speak to him.
She woke up before he replied.When she wakes up, Werner is dead.When he is being buried 2 days later, Liesel sees a gravedigger drop his book, The Grave Digger’s Handbook, and she steals it. This was the first book she stole.Liesel’s foster parents are Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Rosa is strict and mean, while Hans is sweet to Liesel, and they bond quickly. Hans comforts her when she has nightmares about her brother.
Liesel is illiterate, and only keeps the book as a reminder of her brother and motherLiesel joins Band of German Girls (BDM)Because of reading and writing difficulties, Liesel has to learn basic things with children younger than herFrau Holtzapfel is a mean neighbor that spits at their door every eveningRudy Steiner is also a neighbor, he and Liesel become good friends.Rudy is known for the “Jesse Owens incident” where he painted himself black with charcoal to resemble his favorite olympian.Hans is of the minority that does not support Hitler.Hans finds the book Liesel stole and reads it to her. He starts teaching her to read and write.Liesel beats up Ludwig Schmeikl, a boy who bullied her.
Rudy is with her.Part 2Second book stolen on April 20, 1940 The Shoulder ShrugLiesel gets 2 new books for ChristmasRosa makes Liesel deliver laundry so Rosa won’t get firedLiesel tried to write a letter to her mom, but no response. She steals money from Rosa to write more, but never gets a response.Rosa and Hans have two other children, Hans Jr. and TrudyHans Jr. is a Nazi, so he and Hans do not get alongBDM went to a bonfire burning books on Hitler’s birthdayLiesel helped Ludwig out of the crowd because of his hurt ankleLiesel figures out that her mother was a communist and that’s why she was missingSomeone saw Liesel steal The Shoulder Shrug after the bonfire Part 3Hans knows about The Shoulder Shrug and worries for Liesel, buys Mein Kampf (Hitler’s book)Liesel is paranoid about the mayor’s wife, Ilsa, seeing her steal the bookLiesel takes Rudy with her to drop off Ilsa’s laundry, is relieved when she doesn’t mention the bookLiesel goes again alone and Ilsa shows her her library, Liesel is amazedJewish man named max lives in a storage room and pleads to HansLiesel starts reading from Ilsa’s library, finds Johann Hermann, Ilsa tells Liesel he was her son that he diedRudy and Liesel start stealing applesArthur Berg, who taught them how to steal, moved to Cologne.
His sister diesMax goes to Molching and arrives at the housePart 4Max meets Hans, Hans knew Max before because his father Erik was a good friend of his and died in WWI saving Hans’s lifeMax’s father died when he was young, uncle also died, Max loved fighting. His best friend Walter Kugler helped him stay in hiding Liesel wakes up to Max in her house, Hans explained to her that Max is a secretLiesel and Max bondMax writes a book, The Standover Man, for LieselPart 5Ilsa is the last person to fire Rosa, wants Liesel to have a book called The Whistler but she throws it at her feetViktor Chemmel now leads the stealing group that Rudy and Liesel are in, he is rich and only steals for fun, nothing like the last leader ArthurRudy shows his disapproval, Viktor threatens himLiesel looks at Max’s sketches out of curiosity, and his morbid drawings scare herRudy is being bullied at Hitler Youth by Franz Deutscher. Liesel and Rudy want to steal, Liesel goes to the mayor’s house and steals The Whistler. Rudy nicknamed her “the book thief” Franz beats and cuts Rudy’s hairLiesel and Rudy have an encounter with Viktor, who throws The Whistler into the river. Rudy immediately jumps in and gets the book for Liesel.Part 6Max gets sick and goes unconscious, stays in Liesel’s roomLiesel steals another book, The Dream Carrier, from the mayor’s houseMax eventually wakes up, he starts recoveringPeople start examining people’s basements to see if it is fit for a bomb shelterLiesel fears for Max, but he was not seen and their basement was deemed unfitPart 7Liesel goes alone to the mayor’s house and steals A Song in the DarkLiesel and Rudy go to the mayor’s house together later, on the windowsill is The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus. Liesel steals it, and sees Ilsa in the windowsill before she leaves, and a note inside the dictionary from Ilsa says that she knew about the stealing all along, but wants Liesel to just visit insteadThere’s an air raid, so the Hubermanns (minus Max, who stays in their basement) go to a different house’s basement as shelter.
The false alarm raid ends and everyone goes home, Max admits to looking out the window and seeing the world for the first time in almost 2 yearsAnother raid happens, and it ends up being real. Everyone is in the basement of the other house again and Liesel reads The Whistler to everyone.The Hubermanns house was safeFrau enjoyed Liesel’s reading, and promises to Rosa that she’ll stop being nasty if Liesel goes to her house to read to her Jews had to walk to a concentration camp, Hans helps one that is struggling to walk, they both get whipped.
People harass Hans and he’s scared people will try to go to his house and find MaxMax leaves because of this, but leaves a gift for LieselPart 8Men take Rudy to a Nazi schoolHans is taken into the military, Rudy’s father, Alex, is drafted. Alex is sent to an army hospital to fix clothes, and Hans is tasked with staying out in the open during air raids to clean up rubble, save people, and clean up dead bodiesDuring one of the raids, Hans trips over a dead boy and a mother comes asking him if he’s seen her son Rudolf shortly after. He doesn’t tell her the truth, she continues calling out “Rudy!” Hans thinks about Rudy Steiner as this happens.More parades of Jews pass by. Liesel goes to make sure Max isn’t there, then she and Rudy leave bread for the Jews. They were spotted by a soldier, but they got away safelyRosa gives Liesel the sketchbook Max made for her.
She reads it, and it contained a story aboutHitler uses words to persuade people to join him. A young girl (Liesel), also knows the power of words. With words coming from feelings of love, she defies against Hitler whose words come from a place of hatred.
And though a small act of defiance doesn’t immediately bring down Hitler, it paves the way for inspiring others to defy as well.Part 9Liesel and Rudy go to the mayor’s house again, take cookies left out for her and takes a book called The Last Human Stranger. Frau’s son Michael comes home and informs her of her other son’s death (Robert). He also lets her know that Hans Jr. was in Russia and alive. Liesel reads to themHans switched seats with a man named Reinhold Zucker on a truck. The truck gets into a bad accident, and Reinhold dies while Hans’s legs were just injured, so he is allowed to go home and rest, and then will have a new, safer jobRudy wanted to break in and steal from wealthier residents. He had a teddybear in his tool box in case he enountered a child, but he ended up not going through with the stealing.
Another air raid; Frau won’t leave to go to the bomb shelter, but eventually changes her mind and makes it there in time. Rudy and Liesel check out a downed airplane. Rudy places his teddybear on the dying pilot, who thanks him in English before dying. Death encounters Liesel for the second time.Part 10There was another parade of Jews, and Liesel looks for Max again, but he’s not thereMichael Holtzapfel hangs himselfAnother parade of Jews.
This time, Max was in it. Liesel runs to him and doesn’t leave his side until a soldier pulls her off, but she runs in his direction again. She starts reciting quotes from The Word Shaker. She gets to him and everyone stops walking to watch.
Both Max and Liesel get whipped. Rudy holds her down to keep her from getting hurt further.Liesel tells Rudy about Max and The Word Shaker. “You told him about me?” In that moment she realizes that she loves Rudy and wants him to kiss her. “Of course I told him about you.” Death states that this was her goodbye to him, and she didn’t even know itLiesel goes to visit Ilsa, who isn’t home. She starts reading and gets angry at Hitler and at words, and destroys a book. She leaves a letter apologizing and saying she won’t return to punish herselfIlsa visits her later, tells her to not punish herself like she had, and gives Liesel a blank bookLiesel begins writing a book called The Book ThiefLiesel was in the basement writing when the bombs dropped on her street.
The air raid sirens didn’t go off on time, so she was the only survivor.Liesel sees Rudy’s dead body and tells him she’s always loved him, then kisses himLiesel then sees Rosa and Hans. She places Hans’s accordion with his body.
Death sees The Book Thief mixed in with the rubble and takes itEpilogueLiesel died at a very old age. She had a husband, children, and grandchildren. After the bombing, Ilsa adopted LieselAlex comes back and voices his regrets. Liesel tells him about the kissMax eventually comes backAfter Liesel’s death, Death walks with her and pulls out The Book Thief and tells her he has read it many times.