Interviewing Sophie Nélisse of 'The Book Thief'

Kidsday reporters (l) Madison Segal, Eleni Kastamonitis, Victor Kidsday reporters (l) Madison Segal, Eleni Kastamonitis, Victor Tagliareni and Hannah Burton, all from North Country Middle School in Miller Place interviewed (c ) Sophie Nelisse who stars as Liesel in the movie "The Book Thief," at Fox Offices in Manhattan. (Nov. 11, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

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We saw the new movie "The Book Thief," starring Sophie Nélisse, on Monday. It is about a young girl, Liesel (Sophie), who is sent to live with a foster family in Germany during World War II. She struggles with many issues, beginning with being made fun of because she can't read. Hans, her foster father, teaches her how to read books, and reading becomes an important part of her life. Liesel becomes friendly with the mayor's wife, who allows her to sit and read in her library. Eventually Liesel begins to sneak into the library to "steal" the books because words become so important to her. She reads the books to Max, a young Jewish man who is hiding in their basement. He becomes sick, and books are her only way to communicate with him. She becomes very good friends with the boy who lives next door, Rudy, and they help each other through difficult times. He is very good to Liesel and all he ever wants from her is a kiss.

The movie's setting was very realistic. It made you feel as if you were there in 1939. We loved all the characters. Each was very important to understanding the plot. Sophie was amazing; her character was so believable.

We experienced a lot of different emotions. If you enjoy historical fiction, this movie is a definite for you. It will also help you to appreciate what you have in life.

After seeing the movie, we met Sophie, who is 13. She told us she studied the time when the movie took place by reading books and watching other movies about World War II. You can tell she put a lot of effort into making her character believable. We wanted to know if this historical fiction had an impact on her life. Sophie said, "I learned a lot just by shooting the whole movie because in school, at my level, we don't learn about the Holocaust. So I had to do a lot of research. I read some books, I watched a lot of movies, I watched "Schindler's List," "The Reader," "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," "The Pianist" and "Life Is Beautiful." I think it helped me. I tried to read a little bit more and it helps me sometimes. I try to see that in every bad situation there's always good."

Before becoming an actress, Sophie wanted to be a gymnast. We asked her what that was like. She said, "I started gymnastics when I was 4 and my dream was to go to the Olympics. I started acting when I was 8. I joined an agency in Montreal. I wanted to act because I wanted money for gymnastics and then I continued. I got my first part about a year after."

We wanted to know if she misses gymnastics. She said, "I do because I miss kind of the spirit and all my friends. But I still get to hang out with my friends. I still go and see the competitions. I still go on YouTube and type all my favorite gymnasts. I'm still kind of into it even if I'm not doing it."

In one scene, she beats up the school bully. We asked her what that was like. Sophie said, "Actually, that was one of my favorite scenes. I remember just practicing. It was really, really fun. I guess I'm a bit of a tomboy myself, like, I hang out a little with boys."

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