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The Book Thief Summary

How It All Goes Down
The Book Thief is narrated by Death, who tells us the story of Liesel Meminger. It's January 1939, and Liesel, who is about ten-years-old, is traveling by train with her mother and her little brother Werner. Liesel and Werner are being taken to the small town of Molching, just outside of Munich, Germany, to live with foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Werner dies on the train of mysterious causes having to do with poverty, hunger, cold, and lack of medical treatment. Before Liesel arrives in Molching, she attends her brother's burial in a snowy graveyard. She steals The Grave Digger's Handbook from the cemetery after it falls from a young grave digger's coat. The kicker is, Liesel can't
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Hans feels compelled to offer one of the Jewish prisoners a piece of bread and is whipped along with the prisoner by a Nazi guard. Now Hans is desperately afraid the Nazis will search his house and find Max, so he sends Max away that very night. His house is never searched, and Hans berates himself constantly, waiting to be punished for his mistake.

One day, Liesel sees the Gestapo (Nazi secret police) on Himmel Street, and Hans thinks they are coming for him. In fact, they are coming for Rudy, who has recently shown himself to be a great student and athlete. The Gestapo wants to take Rudy to a special training school. His parents protest and essentially make a trade. Rudy stays home, but his father, Alex Steiner, is conscripted into the military and has to leave home. Around this time, Hans is also conscripted, as punishment for giving the Jewish man bread.

With Hans and Max gone, Liesel does her best to go on. She reads to the residents of Himmel Street in the bomb shelter during air raids, thieves with Rudy, and helps Rosa. One night, Rosa shows her the book Max left for her, a book written on painted-over pages of Adolph Hitler's book Mein Kampf. It's called The Word Shaker and includes a story by the same name.

In February 1943, just after Liesel's fourteenth birthday, Liesel and Rosa get word that Hans is coming home. He broke his leg in a bus accident, and his sergeant is transferring him back to Munich.

In August of 1943,

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