Common Sense Media says

Powerful testament to humanity in Nazi Germany.

Users say

(out of 147 reviews)
age 12+
Review this title!
Kid, 11 years old May 9, 2016

Tragic and Confusing But In A Good Way

'The Book Thief' is one of those books that's so sad you want to put it down, but it's just so engrossing so you don't, and you have no regrets. The prose is crisp and chilling, and the characters are truly human. The main character, Liesel, isn't your average heroine: she isn't the pure, innocent type; she's the flawed, tough one that you can't help but like. The plot may be a bit confusing for some, but experienced readers will have no trouble with it. Not recommended for sentimentalists: you'll be weeping by the very end, like several people who I've lent the book to. So, when you pick it up, beware: tissues are necessary.
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old April 21, 2016

Interesting

I loved this book. Although I read it at age eleven, I think that ages 9 or 10 should read it. They need to be exposed to the horrors of the real world-the devastating history. It may be difficult for young minds to get the concept, but think that this should be told to younger audiences, not to age 14+.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bysusan.summers April 18, 2016

earthshattering

this book is fantastic and is written in the most interesting way as death as the narrator. It also shows the horror of world war two especially for the Jewish people. This book is one of the best books that I have ever read. the language is great and shows many creative skills. This book may be a little old for an 11 year old because it is extremely sad and not just that but the language is also quite difficult sometimes however I think that if a child is mature enough this book is fantastic to read and also has quite a lot of humor in it too. This book is one of the best books that I have ever read so even if your child is too young at the moment when they are older they should defiantly try to have a go at reading it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
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!
Kid, 10 years old August 25, 2015

Beautiful dramatic story about family, friendship, love and kindness

A beautiful sad story for ages 12 plus, but not for young children because of the many deaths and the violence.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old April 28, 2015

A beautiful story

The Book Thief is a bittersweet story. The author, Markus Zusak, tells an inspirational, and beautiful story. Even though most of the characters die at the end, it’s still a great story. Markus tells the story through Death’s point of view, which I find a good fit for the book. Death is somehow a little sarcastic to me. The book tells a lot about WWII. When Liesel finds a Jew in her basement, her life takes a turn. She befriends the Jew, Max, and they become friends. The Book Thief is a good children’s book. I would say, fourteen. You really have to think about the things said in that book.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
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.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old February 13, 2015

BEST BOOK EVER

This book was amazing! It is by far the best book I have read in a long time. However, it is about Nazi Germany during the time of World War II, so there is violence in it. Still, I think that all children should be allowed to read this book. It has bravery and strength in it- children unwilling to fly the Nazi flag, children who thought that Hitler Youth was boring, children who gave bread to Jews on their way to concentration camps. There were positive messages throughout this book, and very good role models. The characters were so well-developed that I missed them after I finished the book. This is an amazing read that I think families and children should all read several times throughout their life.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byILoveBroadway January 18, 2015

The Book Thief

The Book Thief is easily one of my favorites! It's certainly a heavier book that will make you think. Zusak did a wonderful job of capturing the scene of a Nazi Germany town. The narrator, a personified Death, is comical and gives the reader a unique look of the world through his eyes. The book lightly included and mentioned alcohol and cigarettes but none of which were excessively used. I did not like some of the language throughout the book, but it should not be anything too difficult for a teenager or mature preteen to handle. Since it is based in World War II, it includes Anti-Semitic comments from some characters. Incredibly beautifully written story that is sure to please!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bythatintrestingirl December 6, 2014

My all time favorite book!

Markus Zusack origonaly wrote this book for adults, but the YA audunce pickeded up... Even though the main chatacter is a pree teen and teen in the story, deth is the narater so it has both a masculine and feminine ballence... I think this book is fine for anyone over 13, thats when I first read it myself! There is A LOT of death in the story, but all of it has meaning, it is not mindles volience. But there are some intence immages, and deth is a very intence subject. there is a wee bit of swearing, most of the swearing is in german, if you don't understand German you do learn some greatght swearwords form the 40s! the first line in the book is "you are going to die" deth speeks the the reader a lot, but you begin to know him as a person and dair i say e becomes likeable! This book is beautifuly written as well! I read this book three times in one year, and it helped me deal with a lot of sad deaths around me (including the suside of a close friend) This is a must read for everyone, and if you are under 13 make shure you are mature anough to handle a lot of death talk. just remember that this book will tear your hart out, run it over with a steemrolar then put your hart back to gether a gain! YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bygreensage16 November 26, 2014

Absolutley Stunning

This book is by far one of the best books I've ever read. The writing style was incredible and one of kind. The Book Thief gave me an entirely new view of WWII. It's a must-read.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byJosieD October 29, 2014
This book captures the live of a young girl living in Nazi Germany. It is defiantly a difficult read because Zusac does not shy away from the suffering in that time, and he shows that by using death as the narrator for the book. Parents should be aware that this book clearly shows death as a theme for this story. The odd way that Zusac writes is what makes this book so interesting and a story that everyone should read.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byPotterheadWhovian104 October 18, 2014

A wow of a novel.

Just wow. You love all of the characters, you feel so much sadness but all of the joys of childhood and young teenhood and you just FEEL so much when reading this. It does have some sensitive subjects and it IS a book meant for the teens, but if you have a mature 10 year old, I'm sure they could handle it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 13 years old Written bySosie98 May 4, 2011
I absolutely loved this book. The whole Liesel and Rudy thing was completely perfect because of how they didn't make a big deal about it until the end. Her relationship with Max was a little wierd, but otherwise it was really good. I cried at the end. You have to read it because it is seriously amazing.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 8, 14, and 14 year old Written byNGogel December 9, 2009

Excellent for older teens - not for younger children

Great book for older teens and young adults.
Adult Written byaramartin April 9, 2008
Adult Written bykeiko April 9, 2008

A different WWII book

This is a WWII story set in Germany. The main character is a young girl named Liesel who goes to live with a foster family. She finds comfort/peace (in the mist of war, lost of her own family, risking their lives to help a Jew, and all) in books. Since there is barely enough money for pea soup, she finds books or steal them. Books become her life line! The writing of this book is very interesting, written in the 3rd person of Death. It really gives the reader an idea what a child life was like during the war. Just trying to be a child, riding bikes, stealing apples, playing soccer while keeping a huge secret and hiding in basements when there was an air raid.
Kid, 12 years old September 19, 2016
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old August 20, 2016

Amazing book

It's an amazing book. I read it when I was ten. I understood it enough. My dad did have to explain some of the concept about the natzis thought. I love historical fiction and if you do too this is a great book for you.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Pages