The Book Thief
The Book Thief Chapter 56 Summary
The Sky Stealer
- That air raid was actually a false alarm.
- No bombing occurs.
- But, the next air raid, the air raid of September 19, 1942, is very real.
- The radio alerts them this time.
- Again, the people of Himmel Street make their way to the Fielders' basement.
- Again, Hans leaves behind the accordion, for good luck.
- In the basement, Rosa holds Liesel's hand so tightly she has to ask Rosa to stop.
- Liesel who has, again, brought all her books, begins reading aloud from The Whistler.
- Rudy is the first to start listening, but soon everybody is.
- Liesel realizes that her reading is, for these people, like Hans's accordion-playing is for her – very comforting.
- As she reads, she thinks of Max and reading to him when he was sick.
- She wonders if he's "stealing a glimpse of sky again" (56.22).
- After some time, the sirens alert them that the air-raid is over.
- Liesel calmly finished the paragraph she's reading.
- We are given the fourth word from Liesel's dictionary, "Wort – Word" (56.29).
- As they are leaving, people thank Liesel for reading to them.
- The bombs haven't reached Himmel Street.
- At home, they gather around Max in the basement.
- Hans tells him everything that happened.
- Rosa prompts Hans to tell about Liesel reading The Whistler to the people.
- Death thinks that when Max imagines Liesel reading to the people in the bomb shelter, he gets the idea for the title piece in his book, The Word Shaker.
- Liesel asks Max if he peeked out at the sky this time.
- He didn't.
- Death doesn't know about Hans and Rosa, but he knows what's in Liesel's mind:
[I]f the bombs ever landed on Himmel Street not only did Max have less chance for survival […], but he would die completely alone. (56.46)