Liesel is taken to live with a foster family in a working class german neighborhoood after her brother dies on a train. She stole a book, the gravedigger's manual, when her brother was buried. During the years she lived with the foster family death tells how she steals more books, collects an interesting set of friends and deals with the war. This book just draws the reader in. At first it's a bit hard to grip what is going on, but then the story falls into place. It is also riddled with sadness and hardship of war and death, but also the delight of learning new words, reading and stealing books.