Thank you, Mary Stassen, for inspiring this text list! As requested, you will find books, videos, and a Newsela text set to serve as additional resources when you read The Outsiders with your class. When you can, buy your books at an independent bookstore. Anderson’s Bookshop is one of my favorites!
BOOKS WITH SIMILAR THEMES AND/OR DISCUSSION POINTS
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Josh Bell is a baller and a twin brother. He needs to sort out what he has in common with his brother and how he is different. He also needs to face the medical issue going on with his dad.
Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess
This novel-in-verse tells the story of Blade and his broken rock-n-roll family. Blade grieves the loss of his mom and the shame of his drug-addicted father by writing his own songs.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda is miserable at school. Kids laugh at her and make it obvious that they are doing so. They are still mad at her about something that happened over the summer. As she struggles through each day, she is trying to heal. She was the one who was hurt, but nobody will know until she finds her voice.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
This book is the diary of a high-school girl who Runs away from home, and gets mixed up with drugs. At some points she seems like she has the world ahead of her. Other times, she seems so lost . . .
Tyrell by Coe Booth
Tyrell can’t get a break. His mom is useless. His dad is in jail. He’s got a kid brother that needs too much from him, and a girlfriend that wants too much from him. All he wants is a place to live, and a new start.
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
Wesley doesn’t write the required essay for Mr. Ward’s class, but he writes a poem. This leads to an open mic poetry event every week in Mr. Ward’s class. Girls and boys from different races, cultures, and circumstances open up to each other through their shared words.
Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes (Available February 2018)
In this companion/sequel to Bronx Masquerade, Darrin is a budding news reporter. He and Mr. Ward bring back open mic poetry and a new group of students learn about each other through shared vulnerability.
Joseph: A Novel by Sheila P. Moses
Joseph is about to start at a new school. The problem is, it’s hard to get to know anyone when you can’t talk about your life. Joseph and his mom live in a homeless shelter, because she can’t keep a steady job with her drug and alcohol addictions. Joseph is trying to figure out how to help her while he also tries to deal with his own life.
Bottled Up by Jaye Murray
Pip is desperate to escape his life – he skips school, drinks, and gets high trying to escape. When Pip gets in trouble at school, the principal gives him an ultimatum: See a counselor, or his dad will be called. Pip will do ANYTHING to avoid his father, so he sees the counselor, who wants him to see what he’s doing to himself and to his little brother.
Jimmy and Kevin could really use a guide to life.
Their activities almost land them in juvenile detention until Duke employs them in his Harlem barbershop. Duke has rules for everything. But is he offering good advice or just more aggravation?
Lately everybody’s messing with Jamal. His teachers, the kids at school, even his dad. And now that Jamal’s brother Randy’s in the slam, Crazy Mack has a crazy idea. He wants Jamal to take control of the Scorpions and run crack.
All the gang jive–Jamal has no use for it. Unless, like some say, it’s the only way to “get money” for Randy’s appeal…
The story of twelve-year-old Jamal, whose life changes drastically when he acquires a gun.
I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets:
Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure
by Larry Smith
Based on Earnest Hemingway’s six-word-story, teens wrote their own six-word-memoirs—powerful, vulnerable, truth-telling memoirs.
After getting caught with drugs, fifteen year-old Garrett is sent to Lake Harmony, a disciplinary boot camp for troubled teens. At the boot camp, Garrett is abused and controlled until he “obeys all orders immediately and without hesitation.” Part of him wants to escape, and part of him is terrified to break any more rules. Can he escape while he still has his own personality?
Ned’s angsty teen memoirs can be read in order, or not. Each chapter is complete and can stand alone.
Thug Notes: The Outsiders (Warning: Explicit Language)
Gone With the Wind in 60 Seconds
Bunnies: Gone With the Wind
Interview with S.E. Hinton