It is May 1942. The NSDAP are inspecting the basements of Molching homes to see if they are suitable to serve as air-raid shelters. They move up and down Himmel Street while Liesel is outside playing soccer, and Liesel knows she must warn Rosa and Hans about the inspections. She comes up with a plan. She collides hard into another soccer player and injures her knee so that she can go inside. Before the men reach their house, Hans tells Max what is happening and tells everyone else to do nothing, to pretend that all is well. The man who does the inspection recognizes Liesel as the maniacal soccer player and teases her, then goes to the basement. Max hides beneath the stairs, behind the drop cloths. Three minutes pass. When the Nazi returns, he says that the basement isn't suitable for a shelter and happily goes on his way. Max apologizes for putting their family in such great danger.
In this chapter, Liesel acts as a protector of both her family and Max. She is quick-thinking and resourceful, taking on a much more active role in maintaining their secret and keeping suspicion at bay. Max feels increasingly guilty for his desire to live; in order to stay alive, he must continue to jeopardize the lives of those around him.