Sunday, February 16, 2014

Digging Into the Backstory #IMWAYR Feb. 17, 2014

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN

I am looking forward to another fun evening with kid lit buddies chatting about the newest Newbery Award winning book Flora and Ulysses by Kate Di Camillo. Won't you join us? Log onto Twitter at 9 p.m. EST Monday, Feb. 17th and join the hashtag #virtualbookclub.  

“If you want to be a writer, I have two pieces of advice. One is to be a reader. I think that’s one of the most important parts of learning to write. The other piece of advice is ‘Just do it!’ Don’t think about it, don’t agonize, sit down and write.”—S. E. Hinton

I am an immersive reader. When I read a book, I like to get the full experience to gain an understanding of its characters, setting, author's purpose, and interesting tidbits that will enhance my reading experience. I recently read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. You remember, that book you had to read in eighth grade. Most of us remember the movie version. All those beautiful actors sharing their story of social class wars between the Greasers (the poor kids (and the Socs (the society kids who were better off financially and socially). 

I remember watching the movie when it was released and loved hearing that a group of middle school students and their librarian, Jo Ellen Misakian, wrote a letter petitioning director Frances Ford Coopola to make a movie version of The Outsiders. In a very unusual move, the studio listened to the advice of students in the making of The Outsiders and even made script changes when students objected to changes that moved away from the novel's intent. 

If you love the book, you MUST hear this interview. 
The Backstory: The Outsiders 

                                     Below is an excellent book trailer that highlights the characters from The Outsiders with audio overlay of an interview done with S. E. Hinton. What an excellent pre-read introduction. 

My Backstory Resources:
Random House author spotlight
IMDb-The Outsiders
New York Times: Making "The Outsiders," A Librarian's Dream
Letters of Note-How a middle school librarian and her students inspired the movie The Outsiders
Studio 360 radio series-The Outsiders 


  1. Thanks! I am going to share your post with our two 8th grade Lit teachers, who teach The Outsiders, of course.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I loved The Outsiders when I was growing up. I never knew about the letters asking for the movie. This might be one book I have to go back and reread.

    1. I have always enjoyed returning to read a book after some time has past. I am able to gain a new perspective and discover new details that I missed on my first read.

  3. Hi Julee,

    Thank you for putting in the time and effort to research the backstory to The Outsiders. Coincidentally, after reading Eleanor and Park and reminiscing about the 1980s over the weekend, The Outsiders came to mind. We read it in high school and of course watched the movie.

    I, too, had no idea about the librarian and her students pushing for the movie to be made. But I am ever so thankful they did.

  4. I enjoyed Eleanor and Park very much and tried to get through Fan Girl on audio as I worked on cataloging new books. I quickly found out it was a book best saved for IPods or solitary car rides.

  5. This is wonderful stuff, Julee - I'm passing it along to our 8th. grade staff, who read The Outsiders and spend quite a bit of time analyzing it.

    1. I find myself going back and playing bits of the audio book over and over. I enjoy pondering stories during and after reading them.

  6. I think I am going to have to watch this movie. I don't recall seeing it or reading the book as a teen, but I know my current book club kids are completely OBSESSED with the book & movie. I find this hilarious! I will be sure to share this with them. I am currently listening to Rob Lowe's autobiography because of a newly discovered love of The West Wing. Have a great week! ~Megan

  7. I have always been intrigued by this novel. Would try to find it in our library. Looks perfect for our upcoming theme. :)


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