Sophie Nélisse plays the main character, Liesel Meminger in this movie. Her mother is Russian. Leisel's mother decides that, the best thing to do is to give her daughter to the German relatives of Hans (played by Geoffrey Rush) and Rosa Hubermann (played by Emily Watson), so that her daughter may be saved, even it is certain that the mother is to be sent to the concentration camps.
Liesel arrives in Germany and is picked up at the train station by Hans and Rosa. Hans is a gentle man but his wife Rosa is a tyrant. Rosa complains so much about having another mouth to feed in Liesel and sees the child as worthless. Liesel is befriended by a local boy, who tries his best to protect her, even she does not accept his affections.
A Jewish young man arrives to the house of Liesel's adopted parents seeking sanctuary. Hans cannot refuse, because the boy is the son of the man who saved Han's life in World War I and he promised the father, before he died, that he would take care of the boy.
Liesel cannot read but she really wants to learn how. When the German town has a book burning of all the subversive and "Jewish" books, she risks all to save a single book from the fire. She does this only because a book is so precious to her. She is observed by the wife of the town's Uber-Meister (Mayor) when she desperately tries to pull a book out of the smoldering flames. As fate would have it, Liesel is the one that delivers the washed and pressed laundry to the Uber-Meister's house. The wife of the Uber-Meister recognizes her and invites Liesel in to read all the books in the library that were loved by her son killed in the war. Liesel comes back day-after-day until this is discovered by the Uber-Meister who then immediately throws her out of the house.
Liesel reads to the Jewish young man that is kept hidden in the basement of her adopted parent's house. Liesel invents wonderful descriptions of the weather outside to keep him company and to keep him from being discovered by the Germans who are searching from house-to-house for people, especially Jewish ones, that are hidden form the Nazis.
Best part of story, including ending:
What is really nice about this story is the young girl's love of reading that seems to upstage all the war background and show the kernel of a higher purpose.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when Liesel's friend from school tries to emulate the Olympics' running win of Jesse Owens the first black athlete to do so, by marking himself up with black dirt to try to look like a black man. It is the innocence of the young boy, who is the perfect Arian with blond hair and blue eyes that tries to copy his hero who is a black man based not on his skin color but more importantly, because he is the fastest man in the world at that time.
Opinion about the main character:
Liesel is very strong. She does not understand all about what is happening to her, but she has a definite opinion between right and wrong. I like her because it is very easy to agree with her.