My name is Liesel Meminger. My papa was taken away. No one will explain to me why. Mama gave my brother and I up for adoption. Again, I don’t know why. She found us a foster family in a town near Munich. The train ride to Molching was long and dauntingly emotional. Not only was I leaving my mom, but my brother caught the sickness and died on the way. As we were burying him in ground nearly too frozen to be dug, I found a book. It seemed fated that this book would be the first book I would steal. Though I didn’t know how to read, I took it anyway. That’s how I came to be in possession of The Gravedigger’s Handbook. After that, Death came to see me more often. He was extremely busy for a few years after he took my brother.
I now live on Himmel Street in Molching, a fictional town created by Markus Zusak just outside of Munich, Germany. Maybe you’ve heard of Dachau? It’s only ten kilometres north of here. Oh, it’s 1939. Not the happiest of times.
Himmel Street is where my story really began. This is where I met my new Mama and Papa. I learned to love Mama’s tough love, but Papa had my love from the start. I met Rudy, the boy next door who wanted me to kiss him (gross). I met Max, who came to live in our basement. I told him the weather and he gave me a book (I didn’t have steal that one). I saw Jews being marched to camp. I felt the terror and the tremors of bombs.
However, my story is not just about my life during World War II. It’s about discovering the power of words being used for good and for evil. It’s about overcoming obstacles in face of Death. It’s about stealing books when everyone else is stealing food. I am The Book Thief.