This persuasive essay found in the McDougal Littell purple book (pg.450) examines issues such as love, tolerance, and what is needed to create a foundation for civilization. Students could read this prior to beginning the novel to explore the motif of tolerance and love that are prevalent throughout the novel.
This excerpt from Wiesel’s powerful memoir is located on pg. 854 of the purple McDougal Littell book. Students could read this to glean background knowledge relating to WWII and the Holocaust. Students could also begin to examine the motif of humanity and dehumanization that are prevalent throughout The Book Thief and this excerpt.
This memoir on page 866 of the McDougal Littell book, examines a government that, for many Japanese Americans, became the enemy. This story is also set during WWII and would serve as a springboard for students to examine the use of propaganda and dehumanization. This text could also be tied to the Wiesel memoir, Night.
This poem found at: http://www.writingfix.com/PDFs/Chapter_Book_Worksheets/Death_Be_not_Proud_book_Thief.pdf, personifies death as arrogant and cold (Zusak personifies death as somewhat compassionate). Students could examine this poem to study personification, analyze differences in the overall personification of death between the two works, or study
Poem found at: http://www.online-literature.com/dickinson/443/.
This poem offers students another glance at the personification of death. Dickinson personifies death as a male suitor. Students could examine this poem for symbolism, irony, and repetition.
The short story is found on page 362 of McDougal Littell’s Literature book (purple book). The story is told in second person, placing the reader in the story (The Book Thief also uses a second person point of view). This story would serve as a solid prior reading due to its use of Haitian terms (The Book Thief uses many German terms) which would require students to use context clues or outside sources to identify meaning. The story is also a fitting precursor to The Book Thief due to the exploration of the theme of immigration and culture.