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Monday, November 12, 2007

Markus Zusak and The Book Thief

     Several of my writer/illustrator friends from the SCBWI Southern-Breeze and I attended Markus Zusak's book signing at the Marcus Jewish Community Center's annual Book Festival last night.
     An enormous crowd gathered in their gymnasium to hear Markus tell stories and talk about his path to writing the Printz award-winning novel, The Book Thief.
     He's been on tour for ages now (after two years, clamor over the novel has not quieted), but somehow managed to be energetic and entertaining. I asked him if he was able to write on the road ("not very well," he said) and if he felt he had another book in him of such importance. He very humbly replied, "probably not." He said he put so much into The Book Thief, he really feels it is his "big book."      Considering he's the recipient of two Printz Honor Awards (also for I Am The Messenger), I'm inclined to believe Markus has many more great things to share with us.
     And oh to have accomplished so much at such a young age! Wow. (And what a cutie too.)
     The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany during WWII and told through the voice of Death, so you can imagine this is no light read - but if you get the chance, it's definitely worth it.



Anonymous Susan Spain said...

Not only is Zusak an amazing writer, e, but a wonderful person as well. How do I know this? As Markus was signing for the woman in front of me, the "aides" helping to keep things moving told him to just sign his name, and that there wasn't time to write anything else. He said, "I can't do that. This is very important to me." To which the aide replied, "your hand is going to cramp--you'll get too tired." To which HE then replied, "My hand can take it." It was awesome. He was stern and sincere. When I stepped up, he drew one of the little line drawings, as if it were Max's notebook; above it, wrote, "Dear Susan," and then, in a box beneath, in header style (as in the book), wrote: "A Little Note: I'm Honoured." I know he did this with everyone--but that doesn't make it any less special. And I know from this short episode with him how deeply this man cares about people. As if I needed more than THE BOOK THIEF to tell me that. Thanks for the platform to let other people know this, too, e. :-)

8:25 AM  
Blogger annamlewis said...

I loved The Book Thief!
My mother grew up in Germany during WWII so the subject is near and dear to my heart.

Markus was in Chicago last week. I had some last minute dr. visits (everything's fine) and I completely forgot about the book signing! Darn!

11:53 PM  

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