Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Holidays and Celebrations

A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor - (ISBN: 0679602372)

by Truman Capote

This group of three memorable short stories draws heavily from Capote’s autobiographical experiences. The apparently simple language is evocative of other times, people, and places as the author revisits his own holiday memories and regains his childhood view of life as he writes.

A Different Kind of Christmas - (ISBN: 0517162695 )

by Alex Haley

The son of a southern landowner and slave holder goes north to college. His education really takes off when he comes to the realization, goaded on by his roommates, that slavery is morally wrong. His “redemption” comes when he assists escapees on the Underground Railroad; the date of the planned secret movement is Christmas Eve. For an exciting tale with lots of true Christmas spirit set in the backdrop of American history, share this fictionalized account of liberation, written by the author of Roots, with members of your family.

Death of Artemio Cruz - (ISBN: 0374522839 )

by Carlos Fuentes

For a lesson in Mexican history and background about the celebration of Cinco de Mayo holiday (the fifth of May), delve into this classic, romantic tale of cultural magnificence. Be sure to get this translation; it provides a clearer window into the cultural history and the quality of Fuentes’ writing.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - (ISBN: 0140440925 )

For families interested in history and a story of regal fantasy, try reading this knight’s quest taken on in response to a New Year’s challenge from King Arthur’s medieval court. Although the language in the book is different from modern English, the cast of characters, the valiance of the quests, the excitement of the battles, and the romance and magic make it a rewarding adventure. For assistance keeping the characters straight and understanding the action, see About.com’s <a href="http://classiclit.about.com/od/sirgawain/p/aa_sirgawain.htm">guide to this epic.</a>

The Cinco de Mayo Murder: A Christine Bennett Mystery - (ISBN: 0345475976 )

by Lee Harris

For lovers of mystery books, the sleuth Chris Bennett uncovers clues to the solution of a murder twenty years past, a murder that took place on Cinco de Mayo on Picacho Peak near Tucson. As a real change of pace for the holidays, escape into the intrigues of her contacts with the murdered man’s family, police records, and ambiguous circumstances that deflected others who had previously searched for the cause of death.

The Present: A Malory Holiday Novel - (ISBN: 0380977257 )

by Johanna Lindsey

No one in the extended Malory family can figure out who left the mystery present or where it came from. Enjoy this holiday trip as life of one of the recipients of the gift has his life changed forever and begins to unravel unknown facts about the family’s past.

Activities for this Theme

Share some  of the best poems about holidays:   


Go with your family to a community performance of the Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.


If family members enjoy mysteries, try more Christine Bennett books.