It is January, 1939 just before the war. The main character Liesel is traveling in a train with her mother and her little brother, Werner. Liesel and Werner are traveling to the small town of Molching in Germany. They are going to live with their new foster parents . Werner then dies on the train as they are traveling from hunger, cold temperature, and lack of medical treatment. Then when Liesel arrives in the town before her brothers burial, she steals this book from the Grave Digger and is a handbook that has fallen from the coat of one.