Stay Gold (texts to accompany The Outsiders)

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!


Newsela.Com text Set “Stay Gold!


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.

Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers   

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?

Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers    

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.


Boot Camp by Todd Strasser   

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?

Teen Angst? Naaah… by Ted Vizzini  

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

Robert Frost recites “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

Stop-Action Animation “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (Good For CCSS RL7)



Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Ages 10 and up

This book, told from the viewpoint of eleven-year-old Caitlin, is amazing.  Caitlin has Asperger’s syndrome, which makes functioning in the world a challenge.  Mrs. Brook helps Caitlin learn important social skills, like:  “Look At The Person”, using “YOUR MANNERS”, and respecting other people’s “Personal Space”.  Unfortunately, Caitlin has a bigger problem.  She is looking for “Closure” and a way to deal with “The Day Our Life Fell Apart.”  When Caitlin refers to “The Day Our Life Fell Apart”, she is referring to the day that her older brother Devon was killed, changing life for Caitlin and her father who are both grieving.

As Caitlin tries to learn to “Deal With this difficult situation called life”, she comes across a few people who may be able to help her find “Closure” too.

My Rating:  5 stars!

 The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

Ages 12 and up

Gecko, Terence and Arjay have the opportunity to leave the juvenile detention center that they have been sentenced to so they can live in halfway house with Mr. Healy, a man who wants to work with troubled youth and make a difference.  Unfortunately, one night when the boys are fighting, Mr. Healy gets hurt and is knocked unconscious.  While he is hospitalized, the boys have to decide what to do.  They know that if they tell, they’ll land back in the juvenile detention center, so they try to keep their freedom.  They agree that one way to protect their freedom is to stay out of trouble, which is quite the undertaking for boys used to lives of crime.

My rating: 3 stars

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

Ages 10 and up

When San Lee moves to yet another school, he sees an opportunity to reinvent himself. San is good at moving, and good at taking on a persona for wherever he is.  So far, he has been a skater, a Bible-thumper, a rich preppy kid, and a macho pretend-jock.  This time, as an eighth-grader in Pennsylvania, he lets the persona come to him.

As San becomes the Zen Master of his school, he struggles with who he really is:  an Asian kid who was adopted by white, American parents, with a father who is in prison, and a guy with feelings for a girl that might see through his lies.

My rating: 4.5 stars