The story begins in pre-war Germany, where Liesel, quiet and illiterate, arrives at her adoptive home with only a few belongings and a book she acquired from a gravedigger. With the loving support of her new Papa (Geoffrey Rush), she slowly begins to learn to read and write. The basement walls evolve into a giant dictionary. However, soon the basement shelters a secret and forbidden houseguest, and the family must take courage in their trust of each other in order to survive.
This houseguest helps Liesel to see beyond just the words themselves and challenges her to observe and write about what she sees outside the basement walls: “If your eyes could speak, what would they say?”
As Liesel and her family and friends struggle against hunger, illness, and the terror of air raids, she sees the value of using words to create stories to encourage those around her in their efforts to survive their harsh conditions. Her courage becomes contagious!
This is an inspiring movie for youth, as it demonstrates the power of compassion, determination to learn, and the power of words.
It shows that once someone is motivated to learn and they are provided with compassion, encouragement, inspiration, and resources, they can succeed. It is also a lesson to adults and teachers regarding the importance of using opportunities to give that compassion, encouragement, inspiration, and resources to those around us.
If you are interested in inspiring today’s youth by connecting them with American WWII veterans in an effort to collect the stories of our courageous veterans before they are lost forever, please visit our iHistory WW2 video contest website! Public online voting of the entrants will be January 6-17, 2014!