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Up the Down Staircase (1964)

by Bel Kaufman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2233412,236 (3.86)112
For every teacher fighting to make a difference--the timeless bestseller about the hope, heartache, and hilarity of working in the public school system. When Sylvia Barrett arrives at New York City's Calvin Coolidge High, she's fresh from earning literature degrees at Hunter College and eager to shape young minds. Instead, she encounters broken windows, a lack of supplies, a stifling bureaucracy, and students with no interest in Chaucer. Narrated in "an almost presciently postmodern style" through interoffice memos, notes and doodles, lesson plans, suggestion-box insults, letters, and other dispatches from the front lines, Up the Down Staircase stands as the seminal novel of a beleaguered American public school system perpetually redeemed by teachers who love to teach and students who long to be recognized (The New Yorker).   Hailed as "the funniest book written in America since Catch-22," Up the Down Staircase spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list, has been adapted for the stage, and was made into an award-winning feature film starring Sandy Dennis (New York Herald Tribune). It remains an essential and highly enjoyable read that will leave you laughing and shaking your head at the same time.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Bel Kaufman including photos from the author's personal collection.… (more)
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» See also 112 mentions

English (33)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I saw the movie as well and while it was good, the book makes more of an impact. Since I read this about the same time I read "An Empty Spoon" by Sunny Decker, it lost some of that impact, as Ms. Decker's book was nonfiction, therefore more compelling, but that didn't take away from its being one of those books you don't want to put down and hate to finish. ( )
  EmeraldAngel | Jun 3, 2021 |
I am too far away from enjoying a book of angst and frustrations of the school system. Whether it is high school or university/college level, it is too true and too awful that *nothing* has changed. I saw it in my life, my kid's schooling and now the grandchildren. I know there are many humorous moments, but for me it was gallows humour. This is why it would be unfair to offer a rating.

If the truth in fiction of how schools are managed is your jam, you're going to love this. Your teenagers will see their classrooms reflected in the anecdotes. This is a novel expressed in the memoranda that still appear in workplaces, which will likely resonate with many readers familiar with the "management by memo" workplace.
  SandyAMcPherson | May 2, 2021 |
Amusing more or less memoirs of the introduction to school life from the front of the school room. It was well liked at the time. The tone is light rather than the tragic overtones such a choice of materials might convey today.
it was a breath of calming air in the early 1960's when it appeared. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Aug 22, 2020 |
I read this when a teen. The title is extremely memorable. All I remember about the book is that there was rule that this staircase is only for going down.
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
This was an interesting read that was based around the perspective of a first-year teacher. The book gives an insight into the struggles that educators must face when they don't have the background experience to look back on. It's inspiring how much our main character wants to reach her students who are at an disadvantage economically. This encases the struggles of relating and noticing when a student needs help. The format of the writing gives the appearance of diary entries but they're actually letters to her sister. This is eye-catching to the reader and stands out! This could be a good way to incorporate styles of writing, and voice for the students. The intended audience is for older students, and young adults interested in education. This is good stepping stone to grasp an idea of what that could be. ( )
  Stephanie_Reyes | Mar 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bel Kaufmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
เขมรัฐTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borger, AstridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufman, Andrew E.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajandi, HennoTÕlkija Ja EessÕna Autor.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Иванова, Е.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Жукова, Ю.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Thea and Jonathan
For all the dedicated teachers still struggling up that down staircase, and all their students, present and future.
First words
Hi, Teach!
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Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with play or movie of the same name.
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (1)

For every teacher fighting to make a difference--the timeless bestseller about the hope, heartache, and hilarity of working in the public school system. When Sylvia Barrett arrives at New York City's Calvin Coolidge High, she's fresh from earning literature degrees at Hunter College and eager to shape young minds. Instead, she encounters broken windows, a lack of supplies, a stifling bureaucracy, and students with no interest in Chaucer. Narrated in "an almost presciently postmodern style" through interoffice memos, notes and doodles, lesson plans, suggestion-box insults, letters, and other dispatches from the front lines, Up the Down Staircase stands as the seminal novel of a beleaguered American public school system perpetually redeemed by teachers who love to teach and students who long to be recognized (The New Yorker).   Hailed as "the funniest book written in America since Catch-22," Up the Down Staircase spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list, has been adapted for the stage, and was made into an award-winning feature film starring Sandy Dennis (New York Herald Tribune). It remains an essential and highly enjoyable read that will leave you laughing and shaking your head at the same time.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Bel Kaufman including photos from the author's personal collection.

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