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The Book Thief Reading and Discussion: Flexible Schedule

In this 10-week course, students will read the international bestseller about WWII Germany narrated by death #academic
Janelle Fila
892 total reviews for this teacher
Completed by 3 learners
year olds
learners per class


Charged upfront
$5 per week
Flexible schedule
Over 10 weeks
No live meetings
There are no open spots for this class, but you can request another time or scroll down to find more classes like this.


Class Experience

Week One Prologue and Part One: Students will be introduced to the narrator, Death, and the main character, The Book Thief. They can discuss how they feel about Death as a narrator. Do they believe Death will be a reliable narrator? Why might the author have chosen to narrate this story with this personification? Students will meet the secondary characters and learn about the setting. Students can discuss how they feel the setting might play an important role in this story. Students can also discuss the unique structure of the book and how it almost reads as a number of interconnected short stories. 

Week Two Part Two: Students will become more immersed in the Germany lifestyle of that time period. Students should discuss why Liesel steals the book. Do they feel it was worth the risk? What does this act of defiance say about Liesel's character? What other acts might they expect from Liesel later on in the story? 

Week Three Part Three: Students can discuss why the author uses stolen books to frame his story. Do they find this method effective? What other ways of storytelling might have  been more effective? Students can also discuss how Max's story might intertwine with Liesel's story. 

Week Four Part Four: Students can discuss whether the flashback scene is effective. Also, how do students feel about the book pages drawn into the book by Max? Why does the author toy with structure this way? 

Week Five Part Five: Students can discuss Rudy's character. How does his friendship with Liesel impact the overall story? Why do readers think the author allows the narrator to flash ahead and give us potentially spoiling information? What does the author hope to achieve with this nonlinear story line? 

Week Six Part Six: Students can discuss Liesel's relationship with Max. Why has he become so important to her? How does their relationship shape the overall story? How important is it that he is Jewish (to Liesel and to the story)? 

Week Seven Part Seven: Students can discuss the raids in this chapter. How did the characters feel? What tone or mood is the author trying to convey? Is he effective? Students can discuss if they believe these pages foreshadow events to come. Why or why not?  

Week Eight Part Eight: Students can discuss how the war is coming to Himmel Street and what might await each character. How do these events affect Hans, Liesel, Rudy, and Max? What do the students make of Max's story within a story? Why did the author choose to share the information in this way? Is there another way the author could have incorporated this information?  

Week Nine Part Nine: Students can discuss the abundance of death in this section. Is it expected, given the era of this story? Have the students become desensitized from it, given the fact that the story's narrator is Death? Or do they still find the grim details disturbing? 

Week Ten Part Ten & Epilogue: How do students feel about Max's return? Are they saddened that he did not escape? Or did they find his capture inevitable?  Students can also discuss the destruction of Himmel Street. Are these deaths more jarring because students have gotten to know these characters over the course of the many pages of this book? Why did the author choose to give Liesel and Max a happy ending? Were there other characters the students would have liked to see have a happy ending, too? 
I have a Master's Degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults. I was a substitute teacher for three years and currently tutor and write curriculum. I once substituted a junior high class that was reading The Book Thief. I was so impressed! I myself had started the book but put it down because of the confusing timeline and long, winding passages. Those students inspired me to finish reading the book, and I'm so glad that I did. It is a unique take on a story that is worth repeating. I hope this class helps other students push through this important and powerful book. 
Students will read one part (approximately 40 pages) a week on their own time. Each Sunday, students will have access to the new videos and a corresponding one page worksheet with discussion questions and places for fill-in-the blank answers. Each week, I assign a short writing assignment focused around that week's discussion questions and encourage the students to share their responses in the classroom.
The students will need their own copy of The Book Thief to read on their own. It can be borrowed from the library or even listened to as an audio book. The students will not need a physical copy of the story in class, although they may find it helpful to have when completing their worksheets and writing assignments.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
The more assignments that students complete and the more questions that they share in posts helps me to understand their knowledge and comprehension of the topics we are discussing.
No live meetings, and an estimated 2 - 4 hours per week outside of class.
This story is about WWII Nazi Germany. It is narrated by Death and follows the life of a German girl. There is bullying, racism, and death in this book. This book is fiction and deals with some very serious issues. We will work hard to delineate fact from fiction. It many not be suited for younger readers. According to Parents need to know that this book is a tremendously powerful portrayal of life under the Nazis, especially as it was experienced by German youth. Characters suffer cruel fates but also are great examples of the power of personal sacrifice, heroism, friendship, and courage. This is a tough story told about a horrendous time, so there's plenty of grief and sadness, as well as violence and cruelty. But ultimately the book is a portrait of the triumph of spirit and humanity. 


Janelle FilaLet's have some fun together!
892 total reviews
769 completed classes

About Me

I currently teach English Composition at the collegiate level. I have a Master's degree in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults, so I teach reading and writing classes. I worked as a substitute teacher for 3 years, in all age ranges and... 
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