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One Book, One Chicago: "The Book Thief" (West Side Bureau)

The fall 2012 selection for One Book, One Chicago is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Chosen as part of the "Now is the Time" initiative, the selection aims to stimulate a citywide conversation about making positive change in our communities and stopping the trend of misunderstanding and violence. Join us for a discussion of the book and its themes with WBEZ and Project on Civic Reflection.

Award-winning author Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief has been lauded by critics and audiences alike, and loved by readers of all ages around the globe. Through the eloquent and surprisingly sympathetic narrator Death, Zusak introduces us to Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside Munich during World War II. As war shapes the world around her, she finds courage in books and in friendship with a Jewish man whom her foster family shelters in their basement. Author John Green reviewed the book in The New York Times, hailing it as “[b]rilliant” and “achingly sad,” and said of the heroine, “[t]he hope we see in Liesel is unassailable, the kind you can hang on to in the midst of poverty and war and violence.”

NOTE: This event has been cancelled, but please reserve your seat now for the October 16 or October 23 discussion - see links below.

Each Tuesday discussion – October 9th at the WBEZ West Side Bureau, October 16th at the WBEZ South Side Bureau, and October 23rd at the WBEZ North Side Bureau – will encourage exploration of the following questions:

- From Liesel to Hans to the mayor's wife, how do some of the characters deal with their past? Thinking of our memories, what do we choose to remember?
- Who has power in this story? How does Liesel gain power? Where and how do we find strength and power in our lives?
- Knowing that Liesel is a book "thief," how does the story complicate our ideas of justice and judgment? How have your own views changed?
- What choices do characters make about groups they belong to? Thinking of our own experiences, what groups do we belong to without choice? How do we navigate that inclusion?

Each discussion is an opportunity to think about the roles we each play in the communities to which we belong, and reflect on how we might increase tolerance and hope. This event will be facilitated by Project on Civic Reflection.

Support for Chicago Public Media's Community Bureaus is provided in part by Dr. Scholl Foundation, Met Life Foundation, and Crown Family Philanthropies.
Since its launch in fall 2001, One Book, One Chicago has engaged and challenged readers in Chicago with more than 20 book selections, hundreds of programs and discussions, and countless memorable encounters among readers. Twice a year, we see our fellow Chicagoans reading the same book on buses or trains, in parks or cafés, on campuses and in libraries. Lectures, author appearances, performances and more bring people together to immerse themselves in a great book, and to learn more about themselves and each other in the process.

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