Up the Down Staircase
Bel Kaufman

Book cover image

Narrated By: Barbara Rosenblat

Duration: 8 hours and 56 minutes

What to expect

Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase is one of the best-loved novels of our time. It has been translated into sixteen languages, made into a prizewinning motion picture, and staged as a play at high schools all over the United States; its very title has become part of the American idiom.

Never before has a novel so compellingly laid bare the inner workings of a metropolitan high school. Up the Down Staircase is the funny and touching story of a committed, idealistic teacher whose clash with school bureaucracy is a timeless lesson for students, teachers, parents—anyone concerned about public education. Bel Kaufman lets her characters speak for themselves through memos, letters, directives from the principal, comments by students, notes between teachers, and papers from desk drawers and wastebaskets, evoking a vivid picture of teachers fighting the good fight against all that stands in the way of good teaching.


Fiction: general and literary, Fiction: general and literary

Listen to a sample

“Merely the most excellent and truthful picture of a contemporary American teacher’s life that we are likely to have for a long time to come.”


“Pertinent, useful, charming, important, and utterly adorable.”

Garson Kanin, author of Smash

“This author has a refreshing way of stating the facts, of breaking down statistics into recognizable teenagers, of making you smile, be contrite, and infuriated all at once. In effect this teacher-author knows her school and her subject.”