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Period 3 Only: Love in the Book Thief

Throughout the novel, there are many acts of love. Briefly describe the one that is the best example, in your opinion, and why.


Period 2 Only: Heroism in The Book Thief

Throughout the novel, there are many acts of heroism. Briefly describe the one that is the best example, in your opinion, and why.


Motifs in The Book Thief

Definition of Motif from Dictionary.comYou should be at least halfway through the book by now. At this point, what do you feel is a strong motif in the story? Explain what it is, and give examples. And, if you can, make connections to other stories with a similar motif: How is it dealt with similarly or differently? Which makes a stronger impact on the reader? Which comes across more realitistic? etc.

You can have the same motif as someone else, but be sure to give new examples.


Period 3 Only: Bravery and Cowardice

Hans Junior, a Nazi soldier, calls his dad a coward because he doesn’t belong to the Nazi Party. He feels that you are either for Hitler or against him. Consider some of the following questions:

  • How does it take courage to oppose Hitler and the Nazi Party? 
  • There isn’t one coward in the Hubermann household. How do they demonstrate courage?
  • So far in the novel, do you consider Rudy to be brave or naive? How about Liesel?
  • Is Max’s guilt (on any of a few topics) more a result of his bravery or cowardice?

Period 2 Only: Hans and Rosa

Liesel has settled into her new family, a motley crew of people not related to her but who all care about her. Consider some of the following questions:

  • How does Hans gain Liesel’s love and trust?
  • Is Liesel a substitute for Hans’s children, who have strayed from the family?
  • Why is it so difficult for Rosa to demonstrate the same warmth toward Liesel?
  • Is Rosa the crude, brash, bitter woman she seems to be? Is there another side to her? If so, has that side always been there or is it just brought out on rare occasions?
  • Who is in charge of the family?
  • How does Max fit into the Hubermann “family”?

Books We Love to Hate

In the novel, books that are considered threats to Germany, the Nazi Party, and German national pride are burned in bonfires. As we saw today, this is certainly not the only time in history that books have been burned for their alleged offensive and corrupting ideas.

But book burning is not the only way to stop people from reading them. In our society, book banning is a popular pastime. It’s not too hard to predict some of the top offenders over the years, such as Catcher in the Rye (for its language, “loose morals”, and violence) and Harry Potter (for its descriptions of the occult). For a look at the Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century to be banned or challenged, see the American Library Association’s list of the Top 100 challenged books from 2000-2009. And here is a sampling of banned and challenged children’s and youth stories. Take a look at the lists, and then answer two of the questions below.

1. Is there ever a good reason for book censorship?

2. Have you read any of the Top 100 books (from either list)? Do you agree that it should have limited access?

3. What book, in your opinion, should have limited access? Why?

4. Some books have been Bowdlerized–i.e. the “offensive” parts have been changed or removed. Two such examples are the His Dark Materials trilogy (including The Golden Compass) and Huckleberry Finn. Is this an acceptable compromise?

5. Should writers have guidelines as to what they can and cannot publish–similar to the Standards in American television writing?