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By: SE Hinton

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How It All Started...

"I wanted something to read." states S.E. Hinton. "I'd wanted to read books that showed teenagers outside of the life of, 'Mary Jane went to the prom.'. She recalls, 'The books available just didn't read true, they didn't deal with the real lives of teenagers."

*She began writing The Outsiders during her sophmore year at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Even though The Outsiders was her first published novel, it was actually her third novel. She had written two previously- neither of which were published - all before the tenth grade. She had been writing since the third grade, and her stories had almost completely been about cowboys and horses, including her first two unpublished novels.

**It took Hinton only a year and a half to write The Outsiders (the same year she managed to earn a grade of 'D' in a Creative Writing class). "The whole status thing drove me nuts," she says of her high school years. "It drove me nuts that people would get worked up over who they should and should not talk to in the hall."

She got the call that the book had been accepted for publication the day she graduated from high school. The book was released by Viking in April of 1967, as she was in her freshman year at the University of Tulsa.

It is well known why the initials of S.E. Hinton were chosen by her publishers at the time the book was initally published. However Ms. Hinton continues to utilize the name for publishing as it gives her the anonymity she loves at home and in her private life. She is a very private person and using the initals help protect that.

*Credit / Source:

  • "S.E. Hinton; the Library of Author Biographies" Antoine Wilson, 2003
  • "Presenting S.E. Hinton" Jay Daly, 1989


    According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967. --

    Best-Selling Children's Books of All Time

    The following list is paperback-only and figures are through the end of 2000.

    Rank Book
    1. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1974)
    2. The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton (1968)
    3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume (1976)
    4. Love You Forever, Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw (1986)
    5. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (1973)
    6. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell (1971)
    7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling (1999)
    8. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume (1972)
    9. Shane, Jack Schaeffer (1972)
    10. The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks (1982)

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