This story centers around the life of Liesel Meinger, a nine-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. After her brother dies, Liesel is taken in by a set of foster parents who’re also hiding a Jewish man from the Nazis. This man, Max, teaches Liesel to read in secret. Entranced with the power of the written word, Liesel begins to steal a number of banned books in order to save them from being burned by German censors.
Even though the hero of this book is a girl, I’d flag it as a must-read for all young men. While Anne Frank’s diary might provide a more intimate view of what it was like to hide from the Nazis, I found “The Book Thief” to be a more accessible story. The book is narrated by Death himself (who remarks that World War II was a very busy time for him), so it’s actually very easy to take a peek into these characters’ challenging lives. “The Book Thief” has definitely earned my highest recommendation.