The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Book Summary and Review) – Minute Book Report


This is a story about a German girl named
Liesel who travels by train with her mother and brother to her new foster family in the
small city of Molching, Germany just before World War II. However, on the train, her younger
brother dies. They bury the boy, but one of the gravediggers leaves behind a book. Liesel
picks it up and continues on her journey. Liesel eventually makes it to Molching and
the foster family, the Hubermann’s. The husband, Hans, is a soft-hearted painter who loves
to play the accordion, while the wife, Rosa, is a feisty woman who enjoys cussing. Liesel is very nervous when she first enters
their house and she consistently has nightmares of her deceased brother. However, Hans stays
with Liesel through the night and they begin to form a special bond. After discovering
her book about gravediggers, he begins teaching her to read. Liesel begins helping her mother with their
laundry business and she collects and delivers the laundry to the rich houses in the area.
She becomes particularly interested in the mayor’s house because of the large library
of books. The mayor’s wife even lets Liesel read in the library whenever she likes. In her spare time, Liesel enjoys playing soccer
with the other kids. Rudy, an athletic boy who has a crush on Liesel, befriends her and
they participate in mischief, like stealing. But times begin to get harder for the Hubermann’s
as the country’s internal conflict with the Jews escalates into World War II. Hans is
getting less work as a painter and Rosa’s laundry business is losing customers. Liesel
is particularly hurt that the mayor’s wife cannot continue to be her mother’s customer.
To spite the mayor’s wife, Liesel begins breaking into the mayor’s house and stealing books. One day, the Hubermann’s are visited by a
stranger named Max, a Jewish boxer who is escaping persecution. He also happens to be
the son of a man who saved Hans’ life during World War I. The Hubermann’s take Max in,
hiding him in the basement. At first, Liesel is afraid of Max, but they talk and become
friends. Life becomes stressful for the family as they
continue to hide Max. During his time in the basement, Max begins to dream and starts writing
and illustrating on blank pages from Mein Kampf. He shares this with Liesel and she
loves them. Max eventually leaves, fearing that he has
endangered the family enough. Soon, a trail of Jews, nearly dead, walks
through the town. Hans offers a piece of bread to one of the passing Jews and both get punished
for it. Hans’ punishment is enrollment in the army, much to the outcry of his wife and
Liesel. Hans’ job in the army is to work with the
clean up crew. He does a good job clearing away debris, but gets injured in a truck accident.
He is sent home with a broken leg. Liesel is happy to see Hans. As the sight
of the Jews walking through town becomes more and more common, she also starts scanning
the crowd to see if she can see Max. Although her efforts are initially unsuccessful, she
does see him and they hug. However, she is pushed aside and Max is whipped before continuing
his walk. The mayor’s wife meets Liesel and tells her
that she knows about the stealing from her library. Instead of punishment, she gives
Liesel a book with blank pages and tells her to write a story. Liesel spends each night
writing in the basement. One night, as Liesel is writing in the basement,
the town gets bombed and all of the people, including the Hubermann’s and Rudy, are killed.
Liesel is the only survivor. After discovering that her family and friends
are killed, Liesel is stricken with grief. In the end, Liesel is raised by the mayor
and his wife and grows up to have a family of her own. First, this is a story about death. Death
occurs throughout the story and ultimately defines many of the characters. The opening
death of Liesel’s brother fixates in her mind and dreams, often haunting her for weeks and
months. Even the death of Max’s father, Hans’ old war friend, has a great influence on Hans,
as he learns the accordion and takes in Max, a Jew, during a highly volatile time. This story also discusses the power of words
and language. Readers see the rise of Liesel through just the simple act of reading. Initially,
written words separated Liesel from the world, but after she learns to read, she becomes
a part of a bigger world. From her reading comes her writing. And it’s
when she begins authoring her own life that she finds her true power. More than that, death is literally telling
this story. The tone and voice, though contemporary, is personable. The narrator is the personification
of death – whether it be a grim reaper, angel of death, or demon. Readers are learning the story of Liesel and
her family through an omnipotent narrator who is both supernatural and spiritual. Through
this insight of death by death, readers learn that death is inevitable and that we are all
on its schedule.

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55 thoughts on “The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Book Summary and Review) – Minute Book Report”

  1. Eduardo Shinji says:

    What is the role of "stealing" in the history of the book?
    I mean, the book is called "The Book Thief". So, is there any consequences of this action on the characters or maybe it is an symbology about the power of death, which can take anyone at any time without warning?

  2. Minute Book Reports says:

    The purpose of books change throughout this story. In the beginning, books are about knowledge and a means to enter the world through reading (since she can't read). Books later become a bonding tool between the girl and the mayor's wife. Then, books become the tool for revenge as the girl is mad at the mayor's wife. And at the end, books become a means of escape (writing in her book literally saves her life).

  3. Minute Book Reports says:

    Books can also be more human-like, as in all humans are like books that can be opened, left untouched, stolen, or destroyed. In essence, Death is the Book Thief in this scenario and does whatever it wants, as we are the books.

  4. Amanda Elise Carina says:

    This is one of my all time favorite books. I think that the way it is written is superior to almost every other book I've ever read.
    I really like your videos!
    Hugs from Sweden! 🙂

  5. Minute Book Reports says:

    Thanks. I definitely found it interesting. I'll probably talk about it more in the future.

  6. Eduardo Shinji says:

    Hum, i guess i smoke something to write that comment.
    But thanks! I really appreciate it.

  7. Eduardo Shinji says:

    That's such a good analogy, since we live and create our own histories. We may live and learn the experiences of our parents and even our grandparents. But it's kinda hard to know the life of ours great-grandfathers, since the distant connection makes their memories fade away. Thanks minutedrlog! (sorry about my english)

  8. Brianna Star says:

    That last sentence had me like :0

  9. shnozlepiz says:

    You have some real talent keep her gon

  10. jasminevanessa14 says:

    If you were to make an activity to connect the class room to the book or the theme of the book what would you do?

  11. DangerousToaster says:

    This book made me cry so hard

  12. HBurks10 says:

    The blank book was given to Liesel by max not the mayors wife

  13. gamer miracle says:

    Thanks for this, it helped me with my book report.

  14. Music Freak06 says:

    Thank you so fucking much! Holy shit, I was having a panic attack cuz I didn't even read the god damn book >~<

  15. Cris Krotiris says:

    Thank you so much for this, i read the book a while back, but i dont really remember it. Going to buy the book soon and read it again. I love how you summarise these books in little characters 😀 Thanks again so much!!!!!!!!!! earning a sub and a like!!! 🙂

  16. Grandma Kek says:


  17. Emma Sullivan says:

    This is going to help me so much with my summer assignment! Thx!

  18. Vivi Crespo says:

    Love this book with all my heart.

  19. Denise Guadalupe Tapia says:

    I read the book and at first I became confused then later it started to make sense.. Your summary was the best one I found since it explains so much in such a little report. I'm definitely going to subscribe!

  20. guwopo says:

    Omg u just saved my summer

  21. Sammykid 2 says:

    Cute drawings.

  22. ruben g says:

    This book was amazing. My favorite thus far. But the death of all of Leisel's friends was a little too abrupt for me. It didn't have much emotion.

  23. Jadyn Knight says:

    Yeah, Really good summary. And drawings.

  24. Allisa Piekny says:

    So this is about the book right? Not the movie?

  25. Fiona Macke says:

    Damn it. I should have finished the book first 😂

  26. Sarah Jo says:


  27. Ysve says:

    I have a timed writting tomorrow about this book, thank you 😂

  28. colzbroeffect boss says:

    *correction. Max left after Hans tried to give bread to a Jew, for the fear that the Gestapo would investigate Hans.

  29. Ian nolastname says:

    Oh my god this saved my butt so much

  30. Minute Book Reports says:

    If you found this video helpful, please Like and Share the video with your friends. If you want to know what I’m currently reading, as well as watch other book summaries, please subscribe to the channel. Thanks.

  31. PorlQ says:

    As somebody who’s read this book (a professional title, I know) this video is really good if you’re thinking of reading it/seeing the movie/ are doing a book report that needs to be due in soon. However, I definitely recommend giving it a read! Zusak’s writing style is very good.

  32. llikbid Movie Critique says:

    I got a final for this book and i aint read shiiiiiit lets see how this goes lmaoo

  33. Supremacy says:

    ill let y'all know if this helps me pass my test tomorrow

  34. Carleen Miyamoto says:

    This was so helpful thank you!!!!

  35. Come and Enjoy 2Gether says:


  36. الشاعر حكيم الفريجي says:

    جميله جدا رواية سارقة الكتب

  37. Joe Lynch says:

    Is the book, book thief and movie book thief almost the same, what’s the difference?? Thanks to anyone who replies! Can I just watch the movie for my summer reading book assignment?

  38. raven cromartie says:

    You saved my English grade

  39. Luke Ruser says:

    Death is not an angel

  40. kylienicolex says:

    you helped me out sm thank u!!

  41. Ant Games says:

    Thanks for helping me out!! I liked the video! I had to read the book for School this year and this really helped me out

  42. IvyOps says:

    Best Summary ive ever seen

  43. xd Dopo says:

    I fucking love you so much right now

  44. B1SQ1T says:

    Moral of the story: WE ALL GONNA DIIIEEEE

  45. DinnyDJ456 gaming says:

    Do you have any thoughts on deaths last line in the story about how he is haunted by humans

  46. Leo Lin says:

    Who else is here cuz they didn’t finish their book and have to do something in school about it

  47. Angela Jiang says:

    THANK YOU!!! my book reports due tommarow and i didnt start the book

  48. brenweavis says:

    literally just saved my project on this. Im not wasting my break reading when this exists XD

  49. Ramen Sanders says:


  50. Innocentfandomtrash says:

    My absolute favorite book! Excellent job.

  51. Rossie Freund says:

    Oof he says Lisa at 3:10 it shooked me

  52. AI Production says:

    Thanks for helping for my holiday home work

  53. cloudy draws says:

    thxsm!!!! i already read it but it makes no sense to me and it was almost a year ago i have to read it for my freshman honors class summer reading. i have to take a quiz on it during the first week of school which is bs! so thanks it makes more sense now and i can remember it a little more!!

  54. B U N N I says:

    thank you lmao i didnt know i had summer reading on this XD

  55. Tarts Popped says:


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