Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mock Printz: The BookThief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
ISBN: 0-375-83100-2
Review: This is a story of a book thief. Now why would anybody need to steal books, one can ask, especially since we're all librarians. Well, in Nazi Germany, stealing a book was an act of rebellion. And this is the story of a girl whose life gets caught up in that whirlwind. She is the daughter of communist parents and winds up in a foster home in a Munich working class neighborhood. She first survives through the kindness of the foster father, who teaches her how to read. Because of his kindness and decency, the foster father eventually offers a hiding place to a Jewish man. This girl then forges a deep bond with this Jewish man in the basement. How they mostly cope and survive is a courageous story. The book is peopled by wonderful characters who grow and change as their world gets increasingly dangerous. This book has stories within stories and that complexity makes the story even more real. The perspective of the book offers a glimpse at how much freedom and reading of books are intertwined. This is an original and fine book which stuck with me for a long time. It is definitely a candidate for the Printz list.
Reviewed by: Susan Rappaport, Rutherford Public Library

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