Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: School

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes behind the Veil - (ISBN: 978-0812976731)

by Deborah Rodriguez

This non-fiction account describes how an American woman, after an initial immersion in the culture of Afghanistan, collects funds, supplies, and helpers, and starts a beauty school for Afghani women. Her portrayal of the wonderful personalities of the students and their gratitude for finding a way to work and learn makes for a fiction-like read.

Learning At Home: A Mother's Guide To Homeschooling - (ISBN: 978-0968293843)

by Marty Layne

Marty Layne’s engaging, anecdotal account of how to home school your children is based on her personal experience of teaching her four children at home throughout all their school years. Besides stressing the importance of waiting until the child is ready for each educational accomplishment, she offers book suggestions, easy activities for many of the subject areas, game ideas, support and tension-reduction activities for burnout, and many, many examples of things children have produced.

Old School - (ISBN: 978-0965915175)

by Tobias Wolff

A scholarship student finds himself at a prestigious New England prep school where the focus is on literature and becoming a writer. Through the writing process and culminating writing competitions, the narrator discovers he has been practicing self-deception in creating an idealized version of himself amid the rich blue bloods of the school. Though he fails to win the writing prize, a private class with a well-respected writer, he finds himself disillusioned bur more knowledgeable of himself.

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan - (ISBN: 978-0670021154)

by Greg Mortenson

As a follow up to Mortenson’s first wildly successful book (<i>Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . One School at a Time</i>) on how he started building schools -- at first just for girls -- in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this book describes his politicking with tribal leaders, U.S. officials, and even the Taliban. Showing great diplomacy skills, he continues to bring schools, not bombs, to this troubled area in order to bring education to everyone and thus comment on the real way to have a peaceful world.

The Catcher in the Rye - (ISBN: 978-0316769174)

by J.D. Salinger

This classic tale describes two days after Holden Caulfield, disillusioned with school, roams the streets of New York searching for truth. He finds himself talking to a psychiatrist, and, ultimately, ends his life. Despite the fact that it was published in the 50’s, its description of teenage angst and despair speaks to today’s teens through its sardonic voice and desperation. Find the location of the title phrase in the book and think about why Salinger chose this for the name.

Take Me With You: Off-to-College Advice From One Chick to Another - (ISBN: 978-0981973333)

by Nikki Roddy

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time - (ISBN: 978-0143038252)

by Greg Mortenson

To Serve Them All My Days - (ISBN: 978-1402218248)

by R.F. Delderfield

Whale Talk - (ISBN: 978-0061771316)

by Chris Crutcher

Activities for this Theme

Learn a language by using some of the excellent free online sites.


Try another language site


Try Spanish, French or German


If you enjoy inspirational movies about teachers, try watching Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dangerous Minds, Lean on Me, Dead Poet’s Society, or Music of the Heart .


Read selections from Marty Layne’s book on homeschooling.


Take advantage of your community’s offering of free classes or local university audits for older adults.


If you want to read more but not buy books and do not have time to go to the library, try this amazing online library. It offers reading selections in many subject areas.