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The Book Thief Quotes for Living With Purpose

The Book Thief is a fictional book written for young adults that is told from the perspective of Death during the Holocaust. The Book Thief quotes below take the essence of a book about death and allow us to understand life.

The story follows a young Liesel as she grows up in WWII Germany. Liesel is a lover of words, and steals books in order to read them. Throughout the story, Liesel’s family is protecting a Jew named Max, and Liesel finds comfort and compassion in words during this hard time.

What can we learn about life from a story told by Death?

In any story about the Holocaust, it is important to focus on the human beings. As this is a story told by Death, the main lesson we must take away is the humanity of the people who were killed. Liesel is so young and able to see Max’s humanity, something we must understand as readers of this story. These Book Thief quotes will show us how to do exactly that.

The Book Thief Quotes About Love

1. “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.” – The Book Thief

2. “He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.” – The Book Thief

3. “If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter.” – The Book Thief

4. “I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.” – The Book Thief

5. “Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.” – The Book Thief

6. “Together, they would watch everything that was so carefully planned collapse, and they would smile at the beauty of destruction.” – The Book Thief

7. “Goodbye, Papa, you saved me. You taught me to read. No one can play like you. I’ll never drink champagne. No one can play like you.” – The Book Thief

8. “Can a person steal happiness? Or is it just another internal, infernal human trick?” – The Book Thief

9. “Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes.” – The Book Thief

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The Book Thief Quotes About the Power of Words

10. “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” – The Book Thief

11. “She was the book thief without the words.” – The Book Thief

12. “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this.” – The Book Thief

13. “As always, one of her books was next to her.” – The Book Thief

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14. “The words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.” – The Book Thief

15. “She was saying goodbye and she didn’t even know it.” – The Book Thief

16. “One was a book thief, the other stole the sky.” – The Book Thief

17. “You can’t eat books, sweetheart.” – The Book Thief

18. “When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.” – The Book Thief

19. “You cannot be afraid. Read the book. Smile at it. It’s a great book—the greatest book you’ve ever read.” – The Book Thief

20. “It’s a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.” – The Book Thief

The Book Thief Quotes About Life

21. “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.” – The Book Thief

22. “I am haunted by humans.” – The Book Thief  

23. “One opportunity leads directly to another, just as risk leads to more risk, life to more life, and death to more death.” – The Book Thief

24. “You’re a human, you should understand self-obsession.” – The Book Thief

25. “A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.” – The Book Thief

26. “Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.” – The Book Thief

27. “The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.” – The Book Thief

28. “My heart is so tired.” – The Book Thief

29. “It was a Monday and they walked on a tightrope to the sun.” – The Book Thief

30. “No matter how many times she was told that she was loved, there was no recognition that the proof was in the abandonment.” – The Book Thief

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The Book Thief quotes to inspire you

31. “She wanted none of those days to end, and it was always with disappointment that she watched the darkness stride forward.” – The Book Thief

32. “People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.” – The Book Thief

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33. “So much good, so much evil. Just add water.” – The Book Thief

34. “I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skills is their capacity to escalate.” – The Book Thief

35. “She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.” – The Book Thief

36. “I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race—that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant…” – The Book Thief

37. “It’s hard to not like a man who not only notices the colors, but speaks them.” – The Book Thief

38. “Please, trust me, I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.” – The Book Thief

39. “Two weeks to change the world, fourteen days to destroy it.” – The Book Thief

40. “It’s a lot easier, she realized, to be on the verge of something than to actually be it. This would still take time.” – The Book Thief

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of book quotes about the power of reading from your favorite authors.

The Book Thief Quotes About the Humanity of Death

41. “It kills me sometimes, how people die.” – The Book Thief

42. “Even death has a heart.” – The Book Thief

43. “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They are running at me.” – The Book Thief

44. “His soul sat up. It met me. Those kinds of souls always do—the best ones. The ones who rise up and say ‘I know who you are and I am ready. Not that I want to go, of course, but I will come.’ Those souls are always light because more of them have been put out. More of them have already found their way to other places.” – The Book Thief

45. “Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.” – The Book Thief

46. “A small fact: you are going to die… does this worry you?” – The Book Thief

47. “I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.” – The Book Thief

48. “If they killed him tonight, at least he would die alive.” – The Book Thief

49. “Please believe me when I tell you that I picked up each soul that day as if it were newly born. I even kissed a few weary, poisoned cheeks. I listened to their last, gasping cries. Their vanishing words. I watched their love visions and freed them from their fear.” – The Book Thief

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50. “Five hundred souls. I carried them in my fingers, like suitcases. Or I’d throw them over my shoulder. It was only the children I carried in my arms.” – The Book Thief

51. “For some reason, dying men always ask the question they know the answer to. Perhaps it’s so they can die being right.” – The Book Thief

Also read these Dante’s Inferno quotes highlighting central themes.

More quotes from The Book Thief

52. “Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.” – The Book Thief

53. “Not leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children.” – The Book Thief

54. “As always, she was carrying the washing. Rudy was carrying two buckets of cold water, or as he put it, two buckets of future ice.” – The Book Thief

55. “I traveled the globe as always, handing souls to the conveyor belt of eternity.” – The Book Thief

56. “Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man’s gentleness, his thereness.” – The Book Thief

57. “It was a style not of perfection, but warmth. Even mistakes had a good feeling about them.” – The Book Thief

58. “When life robs you, sometimes, you have to rob it back.” – The Book Thief

59. “People have defining moments, i suppose, especially when they’re children.” – The Book Thief

60. “You should know it yourself- a young man is still a boy, and a boy sometimes has the right to be stubborn.” – The Book Thief

61. “You can do all manner of underhanded nice things when you have a caustic reputation.” – The Book Thief

What did you learn from these Book Thief quotes?

The Book Thief is a unique story of life and death about a young German girl named Liesel during the times of Nazi Germany. The Book Thief quotes highlight true compassion and humanity as expressed through Liesel’s character and Death’s narratorial character throughout the book.

As this is a story told by Death, it allows us to have some interesting takeaways about life. How can a story that centers around so much destruction teach us so much about humanity? The truth is, an appreciation for life can only come from experiencing death.

In a story like The Book Thief, it is important to take a look at the humanity of the people involved in the true event, and understand the tragedy the story tells. These Book Thief quotes do that, allowing us to appreciate life through death, and humanity through witnessing inhumane acts.

What’s your biggest takeaway from this collection of The Book Thief quotes and lines? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Halle Homel
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