'The Book Thief' Facts: Learn All About This Iconic Story

Shagun Dhanuka
Dec 16, 2022 By Shagun Dhanuka
Originally Published on Mar 31, 2022
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Read these 'The Book Thief' facts and learn all about this iconic story.

'The Book Thief' is an iconic story that has been around for years.

'The Book Thief' is a novel by Markus Zusak that was first published in 2005. The story is set during the period of World War II and follows the life of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who steals books and learns to read as she grows up in Nazi Germany.

This novel has been turned into a movie and it has gained immense popularity over the years. 'The Book Thief' has become an iconic story and has been translated into over 40 languages and has sold over 17 million copies worldwide.

It has won multiple awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award and the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Award.

If you are looking for an interesting read, or want to learn more about this iconic story, then keep reading.

Characters Of 'The Book Thief'

'The Book Thief' is a story that takes place in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and follows the life of a girl named Liesel. Throughout the novel, Liesel, the main character encounters many different characters who help shape her life. Some of these characters are listed below.

Max is a Jewish man who was taken in by Liesel's foster parents when he was fleeing from the Nazis. He teaches Liesel how to read and helps her understand the importance of books.

Hans, Liesel's foster father takes in Max, a Jewish man, and does everything he can to protect him from the Nazi party. Rudy is a boy who is one of Liesel's best friends and also happens to be a part of the Hitler Youth.

Death, the narrator of the story tells us about Liesel's life and how she changes throughout the novel.

As you can see, 'The Book Thief' is full of interesting and unique characters. Each one brings something special to the story and helps make it the classic that it is today.

Summary Of 'The Book Thief'

'The Book Thief' is a story about a girl, Liesel Meminger, who is living in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. She is taken in by a foster family, the Huberman's, and befriends their son, Rudy.

The Hubermanns live on Himmel Street, which is a street that was bombed by the Allies. Liesel and her new family must go into hiding during air raids and she often takes refuge in the basement. It is during one bomb raid that Liesel steals her first book, which starts her lifelong love for reading.

Liesel steals books from the Nazi regime and shares them with Rudy and her other friends. The story is narrated by Death, who tells us about the power of words and how they can impact people's lives.

About The Author

Markus Zusak is the author of 'The Book Thief', as well as five other novels. He was born in 1975 in Sydney, Australia, to German and Austrian parents. His father was a soccer player and his mother was a librarian. Markus grew up with three sisters and one brother.

When he was young, he loved to write and tell stories. In his late teens, Markus moved to Germany with his family. He started writing 'The Book Thief' in 1998, and it was published in 2005.

This book became an international bestseller and has been translated into more than 40 languages. Markus has won numerous awards for his writing, including the Michael L. Printz Award, the Corine International Book Prize, and the British Children’s Book of the Year Award.

Markus is an Australian author and currently lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

Film Adaptation

The film adaptation of 'The Book Thief' was released in 2013 and was directed by Brian Percival. It stars Sophie Nélisse as Liesel Meminger, Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann, Emily Watson as Rosa Hubermann, Nico Liersch as Rudy Steiner, Ben Schnetzer as Max Vandenburg (the Jewish man), and Saskia Rosendahl as Ilsa Hermann.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards in Best Cinematography and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It also won the Satellite Award for Best Youth Film. 'The Book Thief' received mixed reviews from critics but was praised for its performances, visuals, and faithfulness to the novel.

The film grossed $22 million against its $21 million budget. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 11, 2014.


Was 'The Book Thief' a true story?

Yes, 'The Book Thief' was a true story that took place in Nazi Germany. It follows the life of Liesel, a girl who is taken in by a foster family after her brother dies and her parents are arrested.

She soon becomes involved with the resistance movement against the Nazis and learns to read and write despite being illiterate. 'The Book Thief' is a powerful and moving story that has been made into a movie starring Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse.

Why is 'The Book Thief' important?

'The Book Thief' is an important story because it tells the tale of a girl who tries to make sense of the world around her during World War II. The book has been praised for its ability to capture human experience during wartime, and for its complex and intriguing characters.

Additionally, 'The Book Thief' is significant because it is one of the few stories that is told from the perspective of a German citizen during the Holocaust. This makes it an important part of Holocaust literature.

Finally, 'The Book Thief' has been widely praised for its beautiful and lyrical writing style. Many readers find themselves moved by the power of the words in this novel.

Is 'The Book Thief' hard to read? 

No, 'The Book Thief' is not a difficult read. It is one of the most accessible books you will ever come across.

This is due in part to its simple and straightforward style. But don't let that fool you as there is plenty of depth to be found within its pages. If anything, 'The Book Thief' is a quick read that will leave you wanting more.

What age is 'The Book Thief' book appropriate for?

Although 'The Book Thief' is a dark and emotional story, it is ultimately one that leaves readers with hope. That being said, the book is appropriate for ages 14 and above.

Younger readers may find some of the content too intense or difficult to follow, while older readers will appreciate the complex themes and characters that are explored in the novel. Ultimately, 'The Book Thief' is a story that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

What is 'The Book Thief' mainly about?

'The Book Thief' is a historical fiction novel set in a fictional town of Nazi Germany. The story follows the life of Liesel, a foster girl who steals books to learn to read. The book explores themes of hope, love, and humanity during one of the darkest periods in world history.

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Written by Shagun Dhanuka

Bachelor of Business Administration

Shagun Dhanuka picture

Shagun DhanukaBachelor of Business Administration

With a Degree in Business Administration, Shagun is an avid writer with a passion for food, fashion, and travel, which she explores on her blog. Her love of literature has led her to become a member of a literary society, where she contributes to promoting literary festivals in her role as head of marketing for her college. Shagun also pursues learning the Spanish language in her free time.

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Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

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