'It's just a small story, really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery ...' Narrated in the all-knowing matter-of-fact voice of Death, witnessing the story of the citizens of Himmel Street: When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents - 'Kommunists' - for ever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career. In the care of the Hubermans, Liesel befriends blond-haired Rudy Steiner, her neighbour obsessed with Jesse Owens. She also befriends the mayor's wife, who hides from despair in her library. Together Liesel and Rudy steal books - from Nazi book burning piles, from the mayor's library, from the richer people of Molching. In time, the family hide a Jewish boxer, Max, who reads with Liesel in the basement. . By 1943, the Allied bombs are falling, and the sirens begin to wail. Liesel shares out her books in the air-raid shelters. But one day in the life of Himmel street, the wail of the sirens comes too late ... A life-changing tale of the cruel twists of fate and the coincidences on which all our lives hinge, this is also a joyous look at the power of book to nourish the soul. Its uplifting ending will make all readers weep.
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- World War, 1939-1945
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