The Outsiders

By S.E. Hinton (1967)

A true classic.  First published in 1967.  Written by S.E. Hinton when she was a teenager.  The Outsiders tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis set amidst the rivalry between the Socs and Greasers in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It includes the memorable and inspiring admonition: “Stay gold, Pony Boy, stay gold.”

The Outsiders has been revered by generations of readers for the last 50 years.  It remains a book that can reach out and touch middle school readers right on the heart.  It offers a vicarious angle into a world suburban students will never know, a gritty portrayal of dueling gangs, their romances and loyalties.  It also speaks a true language that somehow reaches and sparks even reluctant readers who lack confidence.  The Outsiders has opened up a broader world of literature to these students for all of these 50 years.

The Outsiders is often reported as the best selling Y.A. title of all time – and also made into an impressive film by Francis Ford Coppolla in 1983.  The Outsiders is so beloved that many now adult readers re-read the book regularly.  It’s got that special kind of staying power.

The Outsiders has not been without controversy, due to its mature themes.  But its unique ability to reach teen readers explains why it also remains on countless middle and high school reading curricula.

We invite your middle school to bring your students into the pure and poignant world of The Outsiders.  Your student readers can confront the series of tough personal and ethical choices faced by Ponyboy and his peers.  The same kind of choices faced in Romeo and Juliet and Rebel Without a Cause and The Breakfast Club.  We expect your readers will mark the sixth decade of students who become inspired as readers – and perhaps even as writers – when you share and explore S.E. Hinton’s Tulsa.