Rediscover: The Outsiders

April 24, 2017, marks a half-century since the publication of The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton's tale of two gangs warring in 1960s Oklahoma that was a forerunner of the modern YA genre and has since become a staple of middle-grade curricula. Hinton wrote the book while she was in high school, basing the Greasers and the Socs on real rival gangs. Her depiction of poor Ponyboy and the two other orphaned Curtis brothers engaged in deadly class conflict, dealing with dysfunctional family dynamics and struggling with self-destructive honor codes proved wildly successful. The Outsiders has since sold 14 million copies and continues to sell 500,000 more each year.

Francis Ford Coppola directed a film adaptation of Hinton's novel in 1983. Coppola credited a librarian at Lone Star Elementary School in Fresno, Calif., Jo Ellen Misakian, and her students for inspiring him to make the film, which featured up-and-coming stars like Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and Ralph Macchio. On November 1, Penguin Books released a 50th anniversary edition of The Outsiders ($20, 9780425288290) with extras like archival photos and letters, clips from the book's first reviews, covers of editions from around the world and new material from the film's cast and crew. --Tobias Mutter

Powered by: Xtenit