In September and October, I will be leading two discussions of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak for Sandusky District Library‘s One Book, One Community program. The following is a passage in which I found particularly powerful:

“Dear Liesel,
I know you find me pathetic and loathsome (look that word up if you don’t know it), but I must tell you that I am not so stupid as to not see your footprints in the library. When I noticed the first book missing, I thought I had simply misplaced it, but then I saw the outlines of some feet on the floor in certain patches of the light.

It made me smile.

I was glad that you took what was rightfully yours. I then made the mistake of thinking that would be the end of it.

When you came back, I should have been angry, but I wasn’t. I could hear you the last time, but I decided to leave you alone. You only ever take one book, and it will take a thousand visits till all of them are gone. My only hope is that one day you will knock on the front door and enter the library in a more civilized manner.

Again, I am sorry we could no longer keep your foster mother employed.

Lastly, I hope you find this dictionary and thesaurus useful as you read your stolen books.

Yours sincerely,
Ilsa Hermann”

(p. 369).