Kid 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
Teen, 15 years old Written bybookkeeper September 3, 2010

Beautiful and sad

Markus Zusak has a way with words, and it shines in The Book Thief. At once hopeful and devastating, it's an observation of humanity from an outsider who sees it all; Death says things bluntly, and at one point spoils a bit of the plot early, because he doesn't see the point in keeping anything a secret. A real tear-jerker, The Book Thief keeps a steady pace to the end, if not with plot, then with words. I've read it many times, and each time I notice something new and amazing.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviefanatic88 March 24, 2014

Boring start but fabulous end!

(This will sound awful) But the book was a little slow the first couple hundred pages. It didn't really reach its full potential till the last 100 pages (I was SOBBING). Very poignant and moving. There wasn't necessarily "too much violence", but it may be too intense for some kids.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Teen, 14 years old Written byMissBookaHolic April 7, 2018

The Book Thief is the kind of book that you read in stunned silence, shaking your head in amazement . Really.

The Book Thief takes my breath away. Poetic, riveting, and painful, it is narrated by death and holds a story of a young girl in Nazi Germany. The emotion displayed in the novel is heady, the setting described in a poignant way only an artist can grasp. The cold narrator is sarcastic, apathetic, and callous. A novel that surpasses a shrug and an " it's...okay" is a novel thats tale becomes the reader's reality, where the reader is held captive by the story. The Book Thief is that kind of book. It grabs you and never lets go, it holds you long after you've turned the last page.
HOWEVER: The language is strongish, s---, a--hole, and other insults in German are used. Violence is okay, some characters die, and the narrator is death. It didn't bother me, but I don't know about other more sensitive readers. there is also one innuendo that is very very slight and brief, although there is no romantic feelings in the whatsoever (if you don't count Rudy's constant, boyish begging Liesel for a kiss).
Read this book. It will change your life.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Teen, 17 years old Written bybricehager10 September 13, 2010

Amazing. Absolutely Amazing.

This book is so amazing. I thought this was the best book i've ever read in my entire life, and I've read a lot of books. It's dark, cruel, powerful messages changed my life.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byMaggie G October 29, 2019

Beautiful and Heartbreaking

The Book Thief is a book that will fill your heart and break it at the same time. Every character is incredibly fleshed out and developed, and the writing is fantastic.
The book does have some iffy parts to it, but I think it is fine for a mature 12-13 year old.
I hope you guys love this book as much as I do!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Language
Teen, 14 years old Written bydont hate on ti... June 8, 2019

More for mature children.

Several people die and there are very, very mature themes. Obviously the book is about WWII so... very mature. I read it when I was 11 but a lot of my 11 year old friends were NOT that mature. So if you’re immature probably not for you.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Kid, 11 years old May 6, 2019

The most beautiful, heart breaking book yet.

This book was it for me. At first it’s a little hard to get into, but when you finish it you won’t regret it. I was in literal tears by the end of this book. I think it’s perfectly suitable for a normal 12 year old, and perhaps a matured 10-11 year old. I was 10 when I read it but am mature for my age. Frequent use of swear words, eg: sl*t, sh*t, ars**ole, wh*re and bas*ard. You might want some tissues for the last part. I was crying for about a week.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Language
Teen, 13 years old Written byheyjessie March 13, 2010

A bit intense for preteens

I read this when I was eleven on a cruiseship, and it was seriously awesome. I loved it. Still do. In fact, I have the book next to me right now. It's one of my favorite books of all time, and even though there's a lot of things that I shouldn't know about, well, most people these days are more mature than they used to be. I did flinch at a few words, however.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byTooMuchToSay November 13, 2019

I read when I was twelve, but I understand why it might be disturbing. BUT....It's my favorite.

Upsides:

- Written BEAUTIFULLY.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byBlue2102 November 10, 2019

Beautiful book

Amazing book that shows real human values. It makes readers think about appreciating what they have and also gives a different point of view from WWII.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byAysh September 19, 2019

Great book

I had to read this for school, and I think that it’s an awesome book. I would encourage all to read this. If you have younger children that want to read this I would recommend reading at least the prologue with them. The only reason for this is, because death is the narrator. It’s not iffy or scary or anything if you’re worried about that but, when you first start reading it, it can be a bit confusing. Other than that it’s an outstanding book. It gives you a great insight into normal family life during WWII in Germany without being too graphic.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byJiya1 January 10, 2019

BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL

Markus Zusak has a way with words. It is inspiring and gives away a cornucopia of positive messages. The narrator of the book, about whom i must not reveal, shows us things from a different perspective.
Excellent read for all ages!

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byAllie5115 March 31, 2018

My absolute favourite book

This book is incredible. Markus Zusak is extremely talented and has a refined way of writing. The perspective of the story was unique and made a lot of sense in telling the story of world war 2. The plot was heartwarming, tragic and tied up loose ends nicely. I can not recommend this book enough! Absolutely brilliant.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Kid, 11 years old July 29, 2017

Heartbreakingly Perfect

This book is incredible. Zusak has the ability to make you laugh one page, and make you cry the next. Death narration worked very well, as a way of showing just how brutal the time was. He also paints spotless portraits of characters, even when they only appear for very little time. The book shows how much devastation WWII caused, through an eye that sees all. I cried at the end. I admit it. Oh, and if you liked this book, try All The Light we Cannot See.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Teen, 15 years old Written byBchatterton18 April 8, 2015

A book that changed my way of thinking

This book was absolutely amazing! I loved every part of it and couldn't put it down! If you are looking for a book that will surely bring tears to your eyes this is a book for you. This book made me change my way of thinking. It made me realized a different perspective of death (the narrartor). The author was amazing and I will surely be reading more of his books.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilyLynne April 27, 2014

My favorite book!

This book is my favorite of all time, and it is so beautiful. It is based in Germany in world war 2. It does not promote either side in the war, although characters are scared of being bombed by the Americans. Jewish prisoners are paraded down the street and a man tries to give bread to a jew. He is whipped for it in the street. A young teenage girl drinks champagne. There is some language in this book, but swearing is rare. A jew is hidden in a basement, but he has to leave later on in the book. He is caught by nazis, and the main character sees him in a parade of jews. The main character, liesel, and her best friend steal often, but liesel is most interested in stealing books. An entire street of people is killed by bombs the Americans mistakenly dropped there. Liesel kisses a boy for the first time as he is dying because of the bombs, and they are both about 14. This book is so devastatingly beautiful.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byswimgirl815 January 4, 2011

An awesome book...up to Harry Potter standards.

I seriously loved this book. I first read this book as summer reading for my frosh year lit class, and I fell in love with it. Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is one of my favorite topics of literature, and I feel that Markus Zusak does a fantastic job creating a story. Although it is about a dark theme, choosing tired and sarcastic Death to be the narrator adds a whole new dimension to the book by making it darkly humorous. All the characters stand out, and for me, my favorites, by far, were Hans Hubermann and Rudy Steiner. (SPOILER) I cry EVERY time I read when Rudy and Hans are found dead after the bombing, and I have read this book about 5 times now. It contains some language, but teens like me would think that it adds to the dark humor of the book. A must read, should be classic.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheBookThief616 August 3, 2010

The Best Book I've Ever Read!

This book is my FAVORITE! I read it non-stop for about a week! I was obsessed! I even cried when I finished because I would miss the characters! I am 13 and this is one of my summer reading books, but I am SO glad I read it! Many adults have this as a "Book Club" book. (Many people asked what I was reading and mentioned that it was in their book club) Even though it is suitable for adults, it is AMAZING for teens my age. A deep message. A few warnings though: Much killing. Hitler being praised by some characters. Some bad language. Other than that... I LOVE THIS BOOK!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Educational Value
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byInigo Montoya October 16, 2020

Too Powerful to Ignore

Any book about the Holocaust is usually something that needs to be read, but not all are successful. This one is successful; it's one of the most successful ones I've come across. Part of that is likely because the narrator of this story is Death, which is a fresh perspective, and one that we needed.

Language: The book is set in 1940s Nazi Germany, and language is used throughout the book that is relevant to that time period. The curse words are in German, but some translations are given, and if they aren't, Google can tell you. A lot of the time context clues can also show you what the words mean, so even though it's a foreign language, the words are still present in English.

Drinking/ Drugs: This is the 1940s. The effects of alcohol and tobacco aren't public concern yet. The main character's foster father likes to roll his own cigarettes, and teaches the main character how to roll them for him. She takes drags from the cigarettes once or twice. Drinking isn't shown as much, there's only one instance I can think of. The foster father is being paid for work he did in champagne, and he lets the main character have a glass. She didn't like the bubbles, but the underage drinking still occurred and is present in the book.

Violence: It's a book about the Holocaust. Violence not occurring is impossible. There's talk about the war- one soldier returns home missing 3 fingers on his right hand. He tells the main character how his brother died after getting both his legs blown off by a bomb. This character missing his fingers later commits suicide by hanging himself with a bedsheet. The foster father goes to war and works during air raids, seeing many bodies and injured people throughout. A Jewish man the main character gets to know is later seen walking in a concentration camp march, emaciated. The foster father is beaten for feeding Jewish men on a concentration camp march. At the end of the book, an air raid kills people on the main character's street, and she finds the bodies. With Death as the narrator, he seems almost immune to the violence. It's like he's indifferent, and that makes it creepier in a way.

Educational Value: This is the best book at describing the Holocaust that I have seen. It shows the home life of World War II in Germany, which is another fresh perspective. You see how the war tore families apart, how ideas and words can influence people to do extreme things, and it shows you how powerful words can actually be. It is a very educational book for so many reasons I can't list them all on here.

Read this book. Make your kids read this book. They'll understand the world better for it, and they'll understand the power of words as well. And like me, after they read it, perhaps they'll continue thinking of it and the emotions it created.

This title contains:

Educational Value
Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byHouthoofdm October 7, 2020

Really good

I believe this is a very good book. Although I am just a teen. I believe if a kid can't be mature enough to read it(teen wise) then they don't allow them to read it.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Language

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