The book begins with death introducing himself.
He recounts on what his job is how he likes to collect souls when the sky is chocolate brown.,and how liesel meminger, a survivor, caught his interest. He has met her a total of three times. The first time death met her was on a train, next he met her at a plane crash, and lastly he met her at a german town that had been bombed. The first time they met,Liesel was traveling with her younger brother and mother to met her new foster parents when suddenly death swiftly appeared at her younger brothers footsteps to take his soul away.
The family was in shock and travelled to the next town to bury him. At the gravesite as they said there farewells, one of the gravediggers dropped a book, and liesel that was already on the ground scraping at her brothers grave, was the only one to notice i, and pick it up. They continue to the town they were originally going to. Once they make it there, liesel meets her new family; the hubermanns. The hubermanns live on himmel street. She does not want to get out of the vehicle to meet them, but finally comes out after seeing hans hubermanns. She likes her father hans hubermanns more than her mother rosa hubermanns.
From the very beginning of her staying at the hubermanns home she continues to have nightmares of her younger brother dying, but luckily hans is always there to comfort her. Liesel attends school during the day, but since she has little to none of education, she is forced to study with the younger kids. Once she turns ten she is given a broken doll, so we know that the hubermanns are not particularly rich, and a brown uniform which means she is in the hitler youth. Mama takes liesel to drop off laundry and that is where she meets rudy, a boy that is obsessed with the African-American track star Jesse Owens; going as far as to cover himself in charcoal and run around a track. They soon become best friends and in the future a relationship. Liesel wets her bed in a nightmare she has, and has her step father was cleaning the bed sheets he finds the book.
The book is called “The Grave Digger’s Handbook’. Papa soon discovers that she cannot read and begins to teach her. On september hitler invades poland. Liesel gets moved to the grown up classes, where she tries to read in front of her class, but recites “The Grave Digger’s Handbook’. She beats some boys that were making fun of her and on the way back home she breaks down, but rudy is there to comfort her.