The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The most unique aspects of this book are the narrator (the voice of Death) and the protagonist (Lisel). The interplay between the constant but playful voice of Death as he studies and admires Lisel, makes them an unlikely pair. Of course the historical setting of Germany in World War II adds a great deal of interest to the story. Lisel’s childhood is filled with mischief, learning and friendship as any youth would be, yet it is tainted by the events unfolding at the time. This book is a must-read and would especially appeal to anyone searching for answers about the atrocities that humans commit, and anyone who believes that hope can exist in even the darkest times.
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So glad to see this book given the attention it deserves. I use it as a read aloud with my intermediate students, guiding them through Zusak’s rich, powerful imagery. “Rosa had a small rip beneath her right eye, and within the minute, her cardboard face was broken.” or “a train packed with humans. The passengers slid out as if from a torn package”
The movie is finally being shot, due out Jan. 2014. While sometimes the vision on the big screen is a disappointment compared to the book, I love this story and characters so much, I’m sure to be the first in line to see it.
I had heard that some elementary teachers were using it….who knew it was you! I agree that Zusak’s imagery is so rich …and yet he maintains this naive voice in the telling of the story, so I can see that it would be perfect for your students. Do you find the events and the discrimination difficult to talk about with your students? What moves me is the way that Lisel and her neighbours find happiness even though they are all struggling so much. Can you talk about classism with your students?
I absolutely agree that this book is a must-read! It quickly became one of my favourites of all time. 🙂