Feel free to answer any or all and interact with one another. As you wish...
taken and adapted from reading group guides:
1. What are your thoughts on Death as the narrator? What are Death’s feelings for each victim? Describe Death’s attempt to resist Liesel. Death states, “I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.” (p. 491) What is ugly and beautiful about Liesel, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, Max Vandenburg, Rudy Steiner, and Mrs. Hermann?
2. What is ironic about Liesel’s obsession with stealing books? Discuss other uses of irony in the novel.
3. The Grave Digger’s Handbook is the first book Liesel steals. Why did she take the book? What is significant about the titles of the books she steals?
4. Discuss Leisel's relationship with Hans and Ruby and how it changes.
5. Abandonment is a central theme in the novel. The reader knows that Liesel feels abandoned by her mother and by the death of her brother. How does she equate love with abandonment? At what point does she understand why she was abandoned by her mother? Who else abandons Liesel in the novel? Debate whether she was abandoned by circumstance or by the heart.
6. Compare and contrast the lives of Liesel and Max Vandenburg. How does Max’s life give Liesel purpose? At what point do Liesel and Max become friends? Max gives Liesel a story called “The Standover Man” for her birthday. What is the significance of this story?
7. Hans Junior, a Nazi soldier, calls his dad a coward because he doesn’t belong to the Nazi Party. He feels that you are either for Hitler or against him. How does it take courage to oppose Hitler? There isn’t one coward in the Hubermann household. Discuss how they demonstrate courage throughout the novel.
8. Describe Liesel’s friendship with Rudy. How does their friendship change and grow throughout the novel? Death says that Rudy doesn’t offer his friendship “for free.” (p. 51) What does Rudy want from Liesel? Discuss Death’s statement, “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you [is] a boy who loves you.” (p. 52) Why is it difficult for Liesel to love Rudy? Discuss why Liesel tells Mr. Steiner that she kissed Rudy’s dead body.
9. Liesel Meminger lived to be an old woman. Death says that he would like to tell the book thief about beauty and brutality, but those are things that she had lived. How does her life represent beauty in the wake of brutality?
and these are mine:
10. Which relationship in the book moved you the most? My favorite interaction was between Liesel and the Mayor's wife.
11. How does this compare with other WWII books or stories you may have read?
12. Would you recommend this book to someone else? How would you describe it to them?
13. Were there any other elements of the story you wanted to discuss or had questions about?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Don't be afraid to chat amongst yourselves.