Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 10

By Markus Zusak

Chapter 10

The Other Side of Sandpaper

  • One day in May of 1939 the "NSDAP (otherwise known as the Nazi Party) […] marched" through Molching (10.4).
  • They chant, "Deutschland uber alles"—Germany over Everything" (10.4).
  • (NSDAP stands for National Socialist German Workers Party. The word "Nazi," by the way, comes from German. It's the "phonetic spelling of the first two syllables of Nationalsozialist, National Socialist."
  • The people watch, clap, cheer.
  • Liesel is with Rudy and Hans on the street.
  • Death tells us that in 1933 (the year Hitler took power), ninety percent of Germans voted for Hitler.
  • Ten percent of Germans did not support Hitler. Hans Hubermann is part of this ten percent, and he has his reasons (as we'll soon learn).
  • That night, Liesel dreams of the brown-shirted Nazis. They take her to a train and show her Werner.
  • This time, she not only screams, but also wets the bed.
  • Papa helps her get cleaned up. As he's taking off the sheet, something falls from the bed onto the floor—it's the book.
  • Hans reads the title out loud: The Grave Digger's Handbook.
  • He asks Liesel if she wants to read it, and she says she does.
  • In four years, Liesel will be writing her own book. In it she will write about how Hans teaches her to read.
  • Before they begin, Hans asks her why she would want to read a book about digging graves.
  • She tells him she took the book from the snow, near Werner's grave.
  • Hans shows her a page and asks which words she knows. She only knows three, "the three main German words for "the" (10.7).
  • Hans decides to start by teaching her the alphabet and some words.
  • He has sandpaper for his painting work, and he uses the smooth side of the sandpaper as paper.
  • He draws letters, words, and figures for Liesel.
  • They study long into the night.
  • Afterwards, in the dark, Papa sits in the chair in case she needs him. Liesel doesn't close her eyes because, "She was watching the words" (10.31).

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