Back to school books

Hear that school bell ringing! As school comes back into session all across the country, we're featuring books about school, education, teachers, and teaching.

August is National Back to School month. We’re sharing some great resources about school and education for all ages. We hope you enjoy this list!

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Lee Anne Hooley

Head of Talking Book Services

Worcester Talking Book Library

Being Lolita: A Memoir

by Alisson Wood

DB 101111, Available as BARD Download

The author reflects on her experiences as a teen when her English teacher pursued a relationship with her after giving her a copy of Lolita (DB 67388, BR 13157). 2020.

Download Being Lolita, DB 101111


by Mona Awad

DB 95562, Available as BARD Download

Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her master’s program because she’s a scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to the company of people—especially the clique of women who call each other “Bunny.” But then she is drawn into their world. 2019.

Download Bunny, DB 95562


by Chris Crutcher

DB 65841, BR 17545, DB available as BARD Download

Eighteen-year-old Ben Wolf hides his terminal illness from family and friends during his senior year of high school. Since he is now able to live without fearing consequences, Ben allows himself to fall in love, argue with a teacher, and play football. Some strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2007.

Download Deadline, DB 65841

Download Braille, Deadline, BR 17545

Dear Mr. Henshaw

by Beverly Cleary

DB 21309, BR 15447, Available as BARD Download

Leigh, a sixth grade boy, writes letters to Mr. Henshaw, who has been his favorite author since second grade. Leigh begins writing the letters because of a school assignment, then he discovers that he likes writing, especially when Mr. Henshaw writes back. And Mr. Henshaw’s surprising answers to Leigh’s questions change the boy’s life. For grades 4-7. 1983.

Download Dear Mr. Henshaw, DB 21309

Download Braille, Dear Mr. Henshaw, BR 15447

A Great and Terrible Beauty

by Libba Bray

DB 58201, Available as BARD Download

After her mother’s 1895 murder in India, sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle returns home to England to attend boarding school. There Gemma learns she has supernatural powers that lead her and three friends to a magical realm where she reconnects with her mother. But evil forces also abound. For senior high readers. 2003.

Download A Great and Terrible Beauty, DB 58201


by Sam Graham-Felsen

DB 90237, Available as BARD Download

Boston, 1992. Dave Greenfield, known to all as Green, is one of two white students in his sixth-grade class. As he navigates his new school and the beginning of puberty, he becomes friends with Marlon, a shy black kid. Race and other factors test their friendship. 2018.

Download Green, DB 90237

He Named Me Malala

DVD 1332

An intimate portrait of Malala Yousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The shooting of the then fifteen-year-old teenager sparked international media outrage. An educational activist in Pakistan, Yousafzal has since emerged as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide and in December 2014, became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving disturbing images and threats.

Horrible Harry and the Stolen Cookie

by Suzy Kline

JL 647

The kids in Room 3B are holding a Sharing and Caring Tag Sale to earn money for charity, but Harry considers stealing from the event in order to help out with money problems at home, not realizing that his plan will cause him to become a thief of the class’s charity collection. For grades K-3. 2013.

In One Person

by John Irving

DB 74828, LT 14194, Available as BARD Download

Bill Abbott grows up in a family and town that can be both supportive and condemning of alternative sexualities. The relationships he makes in high school carry Bill through his exploratory years until he finds—and accepts—his place in life. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2012.

Download In One Person, DB 74828

Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes

by Kathleen West

DB 98698, Available as BARD Download

In Liston Heights, the high school becomes a battleground between micro-managing parents and overworked teachers with students caught in the middle. Teacher Isobel receives a threatening voicemail, while parent Julia makes an error in judgment when casting the winter musical. The students must save the day. 2020.

Download Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, DB 98698

Mrs. Beaton’s Question: My Nine Years at the Halifax School for the Blind

by Robert Mercer

DB 100733, BR 23364, Available as BARD Download

The author recounts his struggles as a child living with low vision, especially his difficulty with school. He describes the impact that starting at the Halifax School for the Blind and the efforts of his teacher, Mrs. Beaton, had on the trajectory of his life. 2019.

Download Mrs. Beaton’s Question, DB 100733

Download Braille, Mrs. Beaton’s Question, BR 23364

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

by Sue Kliebold

DB 83764, LT 20386, Available as BARD Download

In 1999, teens Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen and wounded others before shooting themselves at Columbine High School. Drawing upon her journals, videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and interviews with mental-health experts, Dylan’s mother chronicles her efforts to come to terms with the incomprehensible. 2016.

Download A Mother’s Reckoning, DB 83764

Murder of an Open Book

by Denise Swanson

LT 20214

A nasty faculty feud leaves one Scumble River teacher belly-up, and Skye must sort through a huge roster of suspects to figure out which wronged party was mad enough to kill him. 2015.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

DB 75897, BR 12551, LT 29954, Available as BARD Download

In 1991, Charlie is a high school freshman, reeling from his only friend’s recent suicide. In a series of letters, the overly sensitive and intelligent Charlie describes making friends with two seniors, who are step-siblings, and growing up with their help. For senior high and older readers. 1999.

Download The Perks of Being a Wallflower, DB 75897

Download Braille, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, BR 12551


by Julie Murphy

DB 106010, LT 30685, Available as BARD Download

Waylon is an overweight, openly gay boy stuck in a small Texas town. After his audition tape for a drag show accidentally goes public and someone nominates him for prom queen as a joke, Waylon decides to run—especially since he has a crush on a prom king nominee. For senior high and older readers. 2021.

Download Pumpkin, DB 106010

A Separate Peace

by John Knowles

DB 24697, BR 10076, Available as BARD Download

The rivalry in the friendship of two roommates at a New Hampshire boarding school during the summer session of 1942 is dramatized by a crippling accident which leads to further tragedy. 

Download A Separate Peace, DB 24697

Download Braille, A Separate Peace, BR 10076

Sophomores and Other Oxymorons

by Dave Lubar

DB 83267, Available as BARD Download

Following his difficult freshman year, in Sleeping Freshman Never Lie (DB 62064), Scott Hudson hopes his sophomore year will be different. But after a disastrous first week, Scott braces himself for yet another round of craziness. For senior high and older readers. 2015.

Download Sophomores and Other Oxymorons, DB 83267

Stand and Deliver

DVD 429

Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at East L.A.’s Garfield High School, refuses to write off his inner city students as losers. He inspires 18 kids who were struggling with fractions to becomes math whizzes. With Edward James Olmos, Andy Garcia, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rosana De Soto. Directed by Ramón Menéndez. 1988.

State: A Team, A Triumph, A Transformation

by Melissa Isaacson

DB 97201, Available as BARD Download

A sportswriter tells the story of her experience on a suburban Chicago girls’ basketball team that won the state championship in 1979. She describes the team’s path to success, and how they were impacted by the passage of Title IX, which outlawed gender discrimination in funding school activities. Some strong language. 2019. 

Download State, DB 97201

Teach Me

by Olivia Dade

DB 95831, Available as BARD Download

When Martin joins the high school history department, teacher Rose Owens resents the fact that he was given her favorite classes. But his kindness and devotion to teaching soon have her looking at Martin differently. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2019. 

Download Teach Me, DB 95831

The Teacher

by Michal Ben-Naftali

DB 99123, Available as BARD Download

Fictional biography of Elsa Weiss, a teacher who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, but later commits suicide. Thirty years after her death, one of her former students imagines Elsa’s life before, during, and after World War II. Translated from the original Hebrew edition. Violence. 2019.

Download The Teacher, DB 99123

Download Braille, A Separate Peace, BR 10076

Things We Have in Common

by Tasha Kavanaugh

DB 90250, Available as BARD Download

Fifteen-year-old Yasmin, overweight and friendless, is obsessed with fellow classmate Alice. When Yasmin notices a dog-walking man staring at Alice, she decides that he is a pedophile and that she needs to save Alice from him. Yasmin devises a plan to learn where he lives. Strong language. 2015.

Download Things We Have in Common, DB 90250

Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher

DB 70544, DB 85972 (Spanish), Available as BARD Download

Clay Jensen receives a box of audiocassettes in the mail with no return address. Hannah Baker—a girl he barely knew but secretly liked, who committed suicide—recorded a final message for thirteen people to listen to and then pass on to the next person. For senior high and older readers. 2007.

Download Thirteen Reasons Why, DB 70544

Download Spanish, Thirteen Reasons Why, DB 85972

Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas

by Michael Hurd

DB 87986, Available as BARD Download

Historian chronicles African American high school football in Texas, in particular the Prairie View Interscholastic League. During the decades of segregation in the state, the PVIL nurtured the talent of countless players, many of whom went on to successful NFL careers. 2017. 

Download Thursday Night Lights, DB 87986

With The Fire on High

by Elizabeth Acevedo

DB 95376, BR 22770, LT 27334, Available as BARD Download

Teen mother Emoni Santiago struggles with the challenges of finishing her senior year, raising her two-year-old daughter, and following her dream of working as a chef. Strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

Download With The Fire on High, DB 95376

Download Braille, With The Fire on High, BR 22770


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