All posts by Kimberly M

Week 8 (Final Week!)

Role 4: The summarizer

Hello people I am hear to bring you all a summary of what happened in the last 60 pages of The Book Thief

It starts out with part ten of our story, which had a very odd and tragic beginning. Himmel Street had a surprise bombing in which just about everyone dies, including Liesel’s parents. Liesel survives only because she was lucky enough to have been in the basement reading a book at the time. Before we get further explanation, we go back into the past where everyone was still living. We see that, unfortunately, Michael Holtzapfel, Frau Holtzapfel’s son, commits suicide.

We also read of the reunion between Max Vadenburg and Liesel. The circumstances were not good and it was during another Jewish march on the street. He explains that he was caught months before on the way to Stuttgart. From their heart-warming reunion came a whipping on both Max and Liesel from the German soldiers. It was brutal on everyone, for Rudy also took a beating from a soldier for Liesel on that same street. It was in no time that the Jewish marching were gone.  That’s when Liesel finally told the entire story to Rudy, and where she realized how much she loved him.

With much anger bottled inside her, Liesel destroyed one of Ilsa Hermann’s books. Liesel apologized by note, and was later visited by Ilsa instead. She was given a notebook to write her own story. Liesel happily wrote her story every night in the basement she cherished.

The writing and reading in the basement was the key to her survival in the bombing that killed everyone on her street and many others beyond Himmel. She screamed and wept, speaking to her dead parent’s bodies, and finally laying a kiss on the lips of Rudy’s corpse. That was something he wished for years and she had never given that to him alive.

The story ends with the end of Lisel, who lived to an old age with children and grandchildren from her. Liesel was taken away by the police after she said her last goodbyes to her families. She was sort of comforted by Ilsa Hermann, and continued to live on. After the war ended, we learn of Max’s survival and her happiness in the reunion. Our narrator, who never truly revealed themselves returned the black notebook to Liesel many years later.

– Kimberly M

Week 7

Role three: The Passage Person

“‘I’m going to find him”

‘Your papa?’

‘Yes.’ He thought about it. ‘Actually, no. I think I’ll find the Führer instead.’

Faster footsteps. ‘Why?’

Rudy stopped. ‘Because I want to kill him.’ He even turned on the spot, to the rest of the world. ‘Did you hear that, you bastards?’ He shouted. “I want to kill the Führer!'”

This first passage was really interesting to me. It really shows the anger that has developed within Rudy. It also shows the anger and grief within Liesel, who comments to Rudy that he’s only lost one person he loves compared to her. It’s rather heart-breaking to see this change within them. Especially Rudy, who we already know how will end up. Rudy was a carefree boy before who didn’t think too much about the war and troubles, but as the years progressed and his own father was taken, then it got more personal. However, we still see bits of the old Rudy, mostly when Liesel turns back and he follows her a while after knowing the upcoming wrath of their worried mothers.


What do you all think about the deal with Rudy?

Week 6

Role 2: The Connector

The connection I made the week is the escape from town when the threat of bombing was upon the people. There was a lot going on at once, and all the families were escaping for their own safety. However, the one left behind was Max, the Jewish man who was seen as less than human in society. Of course, they could not take him along, for it could put them all in even more danger. As much as he matters to them, they simply had to leave him behind. Each person carried what is most valuable to them while escaping, and it was limited to what they could hold in their arms. Of course, Liesel had taken her books with her.

I felt that this part showed more of the trouble for the German people during the war. There was so much to fear and people had to do what they could in order to survive. But things were even more difficult when the Jewish people German families were trying to protect had no choice but to stay behind in these raids and risk death because they could do nothing more than hide in a basement or in an attic. This also showed that no matter what situation they were in, a German family could hardly do anything to truly save a Jewish person’s life during this era. The part where they were all carrying their most cherished thing, Liesel points out that Hans did not bring his accordion with him, even though it means a lot. Instead he is more concerned with his family, and this showed that the most important thing to him is Rosa and Liesel.

-Kimberly M

Week 5

Role One: The Discussion Leader

1. What would you say about Rudy’s development and his reasons on acting out in this part of the reading?

2. Why does the narrator include the short part of themselves in Death’s Diary in part six of the book?

3. How is Max a replacement for Liesel’s dead brother?

– Kimberly M

Week 4

Role five: The word master

  • The Standover Man (first seen pg 223) – This is the book Max is creating from Mein Kampf in which he talks about his life and how all throughout it, men have been standing over him and looking down on him.

I chose to include this title because it will most likely play a big role in the story.

  • envisaged (pg 250) – v. to contemplate, visualize

I chose this word simply because I wasn’t sure about the meaning. 

  • vociferously (pg 251) – adj. Crying out noisily; clamorous

I chose this word because I wasn’t too sure about the meaning. But also it was the crowd’s reaction to Hitler in the fight in Max’s dreams. It shows his fear and his support he feels.

  • Danke Schön (pg 260) – Thank you very much in German

I chose this word because it was a German word I didn’t know the meaning of, and also because it is one of the last things the Mayor’s wife says to Liesel before as she is fired.

  • Saukerl (pg 271) – German for Bastard

I chose this word because it shows the close relationship between Rudy and Liesel and how they can casually call each other names and simply laugh. It makes one sympathize more, now that we know what’s going to happen to Rudy.

– Kimberly M

Week 3

Role four: The summarizer

We start this section of the book with the beloved book thief, Liesel, and her summer of 1940. As stated in the beginning of our reading, she advances through The Shoulder Shrug, she continues to visit the mayor’s library, she plays soccer on Himmel Street, and she takes on a different kind of thievery. Rudy was a starving child, and he and Liesel eventually find a group that steals food.They join them and almost get caught at one point.

We also get a couple of chapter on “The Struggler”, Max Vandenburg. He is trying to survive and resist against Hitler. He messes up Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, which contained the key to the Hubermann’s household, and writes about himself over the words.

Later, we learn of Hans Hubermann and his participation in the Great War. That was where he learned to play the accordion, from a German Jew named Erik Vadenburg, who was later murdered and found by Hans. He was also demanded to write for others, such as the letters to the captain he had to write for his sergeant. If it weren’t for staying behind under those orders, he would have died in battle. Hans kept Erik Vadenburg’s accordion and met with the now widowed wife. He meets Erik’s son, Max Vadenburg, who we know as “The Struggler”. After the rise of Hitler and the pressure from everyone around him, Hans joined the NSDAP, although he never had anything against Jewish people.

We get a short explanation of Max Vadenburg’s life and how he met the Hubermanns. Max was always a fighter, both mentally and physically. He was violent and stubborn for a long part of his life. As a German Jew, he is in danger and is separated from his family in order to hide. His mother informed him of Hans Hubermann and he eventually came into contact with him. He was a stranger in the house and not taken in well at first. Liesel begins to see the similarities between them and their pasts, and they officially meet in a frightening way.

-Kimberly M

Week 2

Role three: The Passage Person

“‘You know what he did? He rolled up all of his filthy cigarettes, went to the market when it was in town and traded them with some gypsy.’

‘Eight cigarettes per book.’ Papa shoved one into his mouth, in triumph” (g 89-90)

“When her birthday came around, there was no gift. There was no gift because there was no money, and at the time, Papa was out of tobacco.” (pg 98)

These are two different passages within the story that connect and show the affects of the war on the country in general and on the individual families of Germany. The Hubbermann family struggles for years after the war, and things change for them. The passages above show the worsening of their hardships. In the first, they could barely afford the gift for Liesel, while in the second, which is much later, they couldn’t afford anything at all.

“Up until now, at the BDM, they had been told that Germany was the superior race, but no one else in particular had been mentioned. Of course, everyone knew about the Jews, as they were the main offender in regard to violating the German ideal. Not once, however, had the communists been mentioned until today, regardless of the fact that people of such political creed were also to be punished.” (pg 111)

This passage shows the ways they have been brainwashing the youth of Germany without giving  them full details. These people have been attending these meetings and been told countless of things and raising them for the country’s future. The fact that communism was not mentioned before tells a lot about the educational system of the era. It’s kind of like today’s times when so many facts, events, and people are taken out of curriculum so the youth only knows what the older generations that make the system want them to know.

To the group members, what do you think about the BDM passage?


-Kimberly M

Week 1

Role 2: The Connector

Reading through the first section of the book, I see a couple of connections to our world today. This book taking place in Nazi Germany, nobody would want to compare this cruel world to our world today. But yes, there are many connections to the outside world.

Many characters so far are like those many people know in their everyday lives, such as Rudy, the mischievous type. Or Hans, who sees between the right and the wrong in his world and is against certain causes such as supporting Adolf Hitler and has his reason for it.

I think these kids so far are what we can see in our world today most. They are innocent and just want to enjoy life without much thought on the harsh world they were in.

The part that I think connects to the real world today the most is the Jesse Owens Incident. This young boy, Rudy is admiring this Black athlete but is strictly told not to imitate or show his admiration. Of course, smearing charcoal all over himself was not the right way to imitate and admire, but his father was against it because of what could be thought of him and his family. Rudy’s father, Alex Steiner, could represent the more privileged people of our country who take advantage of their position and avoid trouble by not getting involved. I see this in many white adults these days, who may sometimes educate their children in ways that make them grow ignorant. Alex Steiner is worried of being associated with Jewish people and other people that were seen as less than human in that era. It is the same in our society, and is seen mostly when dealing with issues on racism and sexism. These are issues that are not easy to get rid of and will most likely be gone long after we’re gone.

-Kimberly M