Parent reviews for The Book Thief

Common Sense says

Powerful testament to humanity in Nazi Germany.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 189 reviews

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Adult Written by[email protected] May 14, 2009

Stunning, will be a classic.

At age 63 I am no doubt older than the average reader of this book. Having spent time listening to older family members describe what they saw in WWII Germany, I have to say that the author's description of conditions is spot on.

The story is wonderful. Having death narrate the story is pure genius, an approach I have never encountered before and I have read a lot of books in my lifetime. My daughter gave my copy to me as a birthday gift and it will remain in my library as a cherished book to be read many times. Mr. Zuzak should take heart that he has developed a writing style that is unique and mature well beyond his years.

This book should be included in every high school lexicon.
Adult Written byswimgirl1995 February 17, 2009

i cried and laughed throughout this exciting book

i really loved this book and hope that all parents will let their 10 year old read it.Sure there are a few curse words,but its still amazing and there isn't really any mature content other than that and some nazis whipping jews.i hope everyone can read this book.it was both amazing and surprising. the end was kinda weird but it was good other than that. the beginning was slow though.
Adult Written byaramartin April 9, 2008
Parent of a 14-year-old Written bykrochalee September 26, 2020

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Positive Messages
Parent of a 10 and 13-year-old Written byBibliophileMadness April 13, 2019

Great book, brace yourself for sadness

An all time favorite of mine, this book is great. Could not put it down and read this five-hundred page book in about a week. And I loved it. The story of a girl, adopted by a family in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, who never learned to read, but steals books. Crazy, mind-bending story that will make your heart ache. Loved it, recommend it, fabulous. Be ready, the ending’s a kicker! (Also, there is some swearing in German, so know that going in. On that note, don’t read the dialogue aloud with somebody who knows German. Might get awkward.)

This title contains:

Educational Value
Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byJmoney0p March 11, 2019

Great, but bad

It is a good book, but so much swearing.
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byJenny W. January 24, 2018

Very good book.

I have a few points to make about this book. Violence: There is violence in this book but it's World War 2 there was violence and people did die in real life and children/teenagers should know that. I know there is a lot of adults who won't like this book because there is, "Too much swearing". My kid (who is in middle school) tells me kids curse all the time, but I've taught him well enough to make sure that this vocabulary in the book will stay in the book and will not be mentioned out loud. This does briefly talk about how Hitler wrote his book in jail ( My Struggle ) and how people with blue eyes, white skin, and blond hair was the most respected race in Germany.

This title contains:

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Adult Written bySpencer C. October 21, 2017

An Absolute Masterpiece

This book is poetry, start to finish. It is some of the most powerful, beautiful language ever produced by the human mind. I don't say that lightly. I am a voracious reader, and this book is one of the few novels that truly effected me for the better, and stayed with me long after reading it. It contains profanity, but it used (like every word in the book) to paint an effective picture. Start to finish, this book is filled with the most amazing descriptions. It brings you right into the story and fills you with a genuine love for the characters. I cant reccomend this book highly enough. It moved me to tears by the end. It only gets better each time I read it. You and yours will be edified for having read this.

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Adult Written byConnor P. January 2, 2017

Great novel

This novel will take your breath away. It requires a certain level of maturity to enjoy, and I would only recommend it to an 11 year old with well above average reading skills. It truly is good for all ages because the underlying themes and precise wording and foreshadowing can keep any reader on edge.

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Adult Written bydragon.elf July 6, 2016

Beautiful WWII story from a young girl's perspective

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is not at all my usual style of book...not the writing or the genre, but I still loved it. The style was very unconventional, which was hard to get used to at first.
Stories of the Holocaust are always difficult, and while The Book Thief is written about a young girl and has a bit more of a playful feel, this book is really no exception.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about The Book Thief is that it is narrated by Death.

I did cry during this book. I cried at the end for Liesel and everyone in her town. Though I am not sure how much of my tears were actually for the story, or if it was mainly because I was returning to school...

Language: There was quite a bit. No f-bomb, though, and the most common was an insult in German, which was used very often - usually in a playful manner.
Sexual content: Rudy keeps asking Liesel for a kiss. [Something else I can't remember right now]

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Positive Messages
Adult Written bysusangalbraith April 13, 2016

Great Book

This was one of my daughters most favorite books. She has read it a few times. She is mostly into fantasy reads, like now it's Snowflake River by Ben Eliahu. But once in a while she reads books like this one and really enjoys it!
Parent Written byClara32356 March 30, 2016

The Book Thief- the best book in the world. Touched my heart

“The girl sobbed uncontrollably saying over and over again, ‘Wake up, wake up, please wake up I love you please wake up…’ over her parents and best friend.” What kind of books have that in there? One example is the Book Thief. Yes, you’ve probably heard of it before. And I agree, I does sound morbid, but it is DEFINITELY worth reading. After reading IT, I have been finding myself constantly wishing to forget about reading it to read it again.
This book touched my heart deeply and I am pretty sure that I would never forget about it again. Why? It is an orange ball in an ocean of blue, meaning it is completely different from all the other books. One point in that is that the narrator is Death himself. Yup! He narrates in his point of view, talking about knowing when everyone will die, and I am pretty sure no other book has Death as the narrator. I recommend it to anyone, but mostly tweens and teens because they, like me, are more able to stomach things like this.

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Adult Written bylove2015 July 23, 2015

A great book!

This is a great book that you definitely must read. If your child is under 13, however, I would recommend reading it with them, as there are dark themes and quite a bit of violence.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written bycollaborate.fmc December 31, 2014

BEST BOOK EVER

Oh my gosh! I read this book when I was 10 years old and I fell in love with it. The characters are so vivid and compelling. I felt like they were all real and like I was talking to them. Yes, the storyline is dark and extremely sad, but the way that death is portrayed in this book is very metaphorical and it is not an inappropriate read. There are some swears, but most of them are not used in an inappropriate fashion. The ending is quite sad, I would suggest tissues. It is an amazing book to read and you will certainly want to read it over and over and over!!! I think that kids should be able to read this to learn about the history of our country through good and bad times. This is such a good book. Markus Zusak is a genius.

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Adult Written byCapucine October 3, 2014

Good rythm and special way of writing

Quite a sad ending.

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Parent of a 7 and 9-year-old Written byltorgerson October 20, 2013

Brilliant story about the Holocaust but heavy subject matter for kids

Marcus Zusak is an incredible writer who describes the life of a boy and girl in Poland during WWII. It is heart-wrenching and beyond comprehension but may give readers a glimpse of life during that time. It is heavy subject matter for adults so especially so for young teens. I would recommend for older teens studying the Holocaust.

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Positive Messages
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Violence & scariness
Adult Written byShoshanna Friedman June 28, 2012

Fantastic piece of literature

One of the best young adult books I've read in years that incorporates a great plot, realistic characters genuinely engaged in inner conflict and strikingly good literary technique. As I read it I felt it was the "new" classic of our age and should be on everyone's reading list. My 14 yr old daughter loved it and was able to appreciate its literary value as well as its general meaningfulness. What's also significant and different is that this is a "Holocaust" story that's told from a German perspective...very unusual and almost a Sophie's Choice (for kids) twist in perspective on a very tragic time in history. (Yes, if you're wondering, I'm Jewish and the child of Holocaust survivors, and no I didn't find the German perspective offensive at all) -the book is great.

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Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7, 10, and 12-year-old Written byWordGirlTN February 14, 2012

One of the Best Books Ever Written

While I'm a big reader, I'm not a big re-reader. Even some of my favorite books are favorites based on a one-time reading. So it's highly unusual for me to re-read a book that I read less than a year ago. I did so for two main reasons: to see if I still liked it as much the second time around and to pay closer attention to Zusak's writing style since when I read it last June it left me aching to write.

I did like it as much the second time around. I simply love Liesel Meminger. She is brave, loving and kind in the worst circumstances imaginable. I want to know someone like her. I want to be like her - without all of the tragedy surrounding her. (Although even as I type that, I wonder if Liesel would be Liesel without the tragedy surrounding her.)

I tried to pay close attention to the writing and while I can't write like Zusak, I did learn some things. I think his use of Death as the narrator gives this book an emotional distance it needs. If the book is heartbreaking as it is, it would be devastating (or impossible) to read it first-person from Liesel's point of view. I also find myself pondering how Zusak gives words themselves weight, life and three-dimensionality. Words and books are a characters in The Book Thief, not just delivery vehicles.

This book is not a light read. With 50 pages left, I was crying so hard this morning that one daughter brought me kleenex while another hugged me and comforted me. But if you can stand to read Liesel's story about Nazi Germany and how words made it all possible, it is well worth it.

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Parent of a 13 and 16-year-old Written bygabajoran January 18, 2011
I bought this book as an ebook after both my 13 year old daughter and I got Nook ereaders. Finding books that are appropriate for her to read that I will also enjoy has been a challenge. This book met all my expectations. It is a bit odd in the beginning, but the characters are unforgettable. The story line is dark but not totally depressing. It is excellent historic fiction. Even the language that I would object to adds to the book.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byAnia December 26, 2010

Beautiful writing

A wonderful book, content/theme/characters, etc. As a writer,
Markus Zusak is in the top tier of contemporary writers.

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