The Book Thief centers around the life of Liesel Meminger, a 10-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II. Liesel's experiences are narrated by Death, who describes both the beauty and destruction of life in this era.
After her brother's death, Liesel arrives in a distraught state at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. During her time there, she is exposed to the horror of the Nazi regime and struggles to find a way to preserve the innocence of her childhood in the midst of her destructive surroundings. As the political situation in Germany deteriorates, her foster parents hide a Jewish man named Max, putting the family in danger. Hans, who has developed a close relationship with Liesel, teaches her to read in secret.
Recognizing the power of writing and sharing the written word, Liesel begins to not only steal books the Nazi party is looking to destroy, but also write her own stories and share the power of language with Max. As Liesel copes with the trauma of her past and the violent horrors of the war-torn world around her, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, the formation of a new family, and mostly, her life as a book thief.