Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Real People: True stories of the famous and not so famous

700 Sundays - (ISBN: 978-0446579186)

by Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal shares jokes, family stories, and, especially, fond memories of his father who died young. Crystal guesses he only got to spend around 700 Sundays with his dad, but shows readers that the effects of those days continue. Can you see the roots of humor in Crystal’s method of observation?

A Stolen Life - (ISBN: 978-1451629194)

by Jaycee Dugard

Jaycee Dugard candidly describes her kidnapping, subsequent abuse, births of her two daughters, and survival in this riveting memoir. What personal qualities helped her to survive both mentally and physically?

Babe: The Legend Comes to Life - (ISBN: 978-0671760700)

by Robert Creamer

Although Babe Ruth grew up in an orphanage, he went on to become one of the greatest sports heroes imaginable. His hitting success coupled with his off field interests make for a great read about this legend. Are today’s sports stars similar to the Babe?

The Color of Water - (ISBN: 978-1594481925)

by James McBride

McBride’s mother, the raiser of 12 children of her own, did not see herself as African American. She infused her children’s lives with culture, the best education, and a commanding respect. Although McBride’s family was poor and black, the influence of his mother in their lives raised them to their highest potentials. Only as a mature man did McBride find out secrets about her previous life. Enjoy this salute to one man’s mother! Why are biographies about mothers among the most popular types of memoirs?

Winter Journal - (ISBN: 978-0805095531)

by Paul Auster

This beautifully written memoir details Auster’s inner thoughts and images and invites you to share and identify with his experiences as he ages. Did he hit any notes from your life?

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 - (ISBN: 978-0679733768)

by Laura Thatcher Ulrich

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time - (ISBN: 978-0802715296)

by Dava Sobel

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson - (ISBN: 978-0307462206)

by William Soder

Vernon Can Read - (ISBN: 978-1586486709)

by Vernon Jordan

Activities for this Theme

For an upcoming family birthday party, make a “This is Your Life” show. Collect photos and items of interest that are important to the person who is celebrating the birthday.


Take old family photos and arrange them in chronological order. Add captions and you have a photo-biography! Use an online scrapbooking tool to share your biography.


For an upcoming family birthday party, make a “This is Your Life” show. Collect photos and items of interest that are important to the person who is celebrating the birthday.


Listen to some stories of real but ordinary American people at Story Corps. Encourage family members with interesting stories to tell to record their stories there too!!!


Play the news conference game. Have players draw names of important people. They then answer reporters’ questions about their accomplishments and activities until the reporters can guess who they are.