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The Book Thief
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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
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, "
– 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
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.
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.
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