Recently while snuggled up with my kids looking for a movie to watch I came across the very beginning of the classic movie (and one of my personal favorites) The Outsiders. The Outsiders was of course based on the young adult novel of the same name by author S.E. Hinton.
S.E. Hinton was a favorite author of mine. I remember very clearly reading The Outsiders (along with a number of the books Hinton wrote after it) when I was in Junior High. In fact The Outsiders was required 6th grade reading at that time. Also, like many kids of my generation, I madly loved the movie as well.
But when I came across the movie on TV, I hesitated for moment. At 9 and 7 I knew my son and daughter were quite a bit younger than I was the first time I was introduced the Outsiders. Then I saw that it was only rated PG and remembered that we had just watched The Dark Knight recently. The violence and subject matter of The Outsiders is actually pretty tame compared to the PG-13 Superhero movies that are a guilty pleasure in our house.
My kids watched it and ate it up. As we watched we had some great discussions on violence, social classes, bullying, consequences and so much more. I told my 9 year old that it was actually a book and asked if maybe he would like to try reading it. I told both kids that it was one of my favorites and that I had read it many times. I was still a little hesitant at whether it was acceptable reading so I popped on the internet to see what the reading level was.
Of course while online I got distracted by reading trivia about the book and the author I loved so much. It was than that I was blindsided by something I should have known.
S.E. Hinton was not only 16 years old and still in high school when the Outsiders became a hit, but was also a girl.
I suppose that at some point a teacher could have dropped that nugget of information on me, if so I don’t remember. Regardless, as a young girl who aspired to be a writer from the moment I was able to put a pen to paper, I wish someone had made sure I had known this simple fact about S.E. Hinton.
I hold the memories and the influence of the female writers from my childhood in very high regard. But I never had one who was not only a girl, but a girl who was only a few short years older than me when she wrote her first and most famous book.
I excitedly told my kids about S.E. Hinton and her age, to which they were both fairly impressed. I vowed to dig out my old copy of the Outsiders from its place in the garage (with my own childhood book collection).
Later that night I was thinking about how nice it would’ve been to have known more about S.E. Hinton when I was a girl, and it made me think of SheHeroes. It’s the little moments like these that remind me why SheHeroes is here. To help shine a light on S.E. Hinton as well as the many other talented and inspiring girls and women like her, so that other girls will know them. So that other girls will benefit from just the simple knowledge that there are girls out there like them who have broken down boundaries and accomplished awesome things and been SheHeroic. Or for girls like me. A girl who dreamed of being a writer and would’ve liked to have known S.E. Hinton was out there.
At least I know now, and more importantly so does my daughter as well as all of you.