Subject Material

The Book Thief by Markus Zusack

Published: 21.09.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Books are Love

Words are powerful, we know that. They can convey hope, provoke, disappoint, comfort, please and even ignite wars. But are they worth stealing for? While reading the Prologue from The Book Thief  you should have the following question in mind: What circumstances would make YOU steal a book? Get ready to meet a book thief in person.

Australian Markus Zusak 's writing career took off when The Book Thief was released in 2005. Yet another book about the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews, how could it become so immensely popular? One reason might be that the story line is mirrored in his German parents' war experiences and what they brought to him as a child. Another is the unusual twist to the novel; Death is personified and placed in the driving seat as the narrator.

Watch a brief interview with the author to find out what inspired him to write the novel. While watching, try to jot down clues regarding:

  • where and when the story is set
  • which story he refers to as a source of inspiration
  • his choice of Death as a narrator and how the Death character he depicts is "different"
  • why he mentions "where the book should sit on the book shelf"



Read from the Prologue of The Book Thief.

The Book Thief
Forfatter: Markus Zusak
Leverandør: Random House, Inc





Literary Analysis

Revise literary terms e.g. setting, theme, point of view and try the multiple choice task


Further work

You will find tasks related to the novel here 


Practical material