Monday, June 6, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Book Thief

Happy Monday. My MMGM pick:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published in 2006

Other books by Zusak:
I Am the Messenger (currently in my wanna get pile)
Getting the Girl
The Bridge of Clay (releasing this year)

The Hook: Death surrounds Liesel, a young girl living in Nazi Germany, but she escapes Death's grasp by stealing books and helping others.

Why I love this book: Style and a fresh perspective on Nazi Germany. This book is beautifully written and I loved Death's narration. Clever from the first page to the last. I thought this was a refreshing perspective of Nazi Germany because it is about a German girl's struggle to adapt to her new situation as a foster child. It is not about the war or the extermination of the Jews. The war is just the background of the story and you get to see and understand what it meant to be a German child living during World War 2. Liesel is actually very naive about the extermination camp near her village. She believes it is a work camp. So when her foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement, she doesn't fully understand why.

This could be one of my favorite middle grade books but it is more literary and less adventurous. The subject matter would probably go over the heads of younger middle graders.
This book is great for both boys and girls but I wouldn't recommend it to reluctant readers. The style is very unique and might be difficult or annoying to some middle graders.

Want More? Go to his website or his wikipedia page.

Other MMGMers (go, they always have great picks):
I remember reading Anne Frank in the 5th grade. It was my first exposer to learning about World War 2 and what really happened. I think The Book Thief would be a great companion to Anne Frank. I also love The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (although not MG).

What books about World War 2 left an impression on you as a MGer or as an adult?


  1. I will read this one! Connecting history to a story makes it real to me and my kids. Thank you for the recommendation.

  2. Have had this one on my to-read bookshelves for a too long time I think. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I absolutely loved this one, but I wouldn't give it to a younger reader. My favorite WWII MG is Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry.

  4. I liked Number the Stars too. I haven't read The Book Thief, though I keep meaning too.

  5. I haven't read this yet. But you're convincing me that I need to.

  6. I read this one and I agree that it's definitely for older MG and young YA. I also enjoyed Number the Stars and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

  7. One of my top ten favorite books of all time! But I never thought of it as middle grade. Interesting... We shelve it in YA. And the Printz generally goes to a teen novel. Does B&N shelve it in MG??