My Superheroes, My Outsiders

I really did hit SEND. (Note: Some details have been left out of this email for the sake of my students.)


Dear Ms. Hinton,

Last fall, my 7th and 8th grade students had the experience of a lifetime when Rick D. Niece, author of Side-Yard Superhero: Life Lessons from an Unlikely Teacher, visited our classroom and had a book discussion with us.

The day Mr. Niece visited was the very best day of my 19 years of teaching and probably the best day of my students’ lives as well, at least when it comes to school.

The positive influence Mr. Niece’s novel had on my class and myself is indescribable, although I have tried to capture it in my blog.

My 7th graders are just starting The Outsiders, and they’ve already asked the question I was expecting: “Can we meet S.E. Hinton too?!”

While Mr. Niece has local ties to this area, I felt it was only right of me to reach out to you, out of respect and love for my students. I have never been prouder of them than that day when they stood and recited one of Rick’s poems in unison. The moment brought tears to both our eyes and still makes my heart swell.

Not that I wouldn’t love to meet you in person…but I am requesting nothing more than an email or letter encouraging my class to continue to be the amazing “superheroes” they proved to be last fall.

They are, in their own way, “Outsiders” too. They have never had the special treatment they have been given this year, and I want to continue the magic just a little while longer.

The opportunity to read Side-Yard Superhero was a completely serendipitous moment that I almost passed up. But I said “Yes” to the book, and the rest is, well….just amazing.

I have taught The Outsiders for many years, and this year I already feel the anticipation and excitement building in my classroom. Should you be able to send us a letter, our address is:   XXXXXXXXXXX

With much respect,

7 responses

  1. I am very curious about Side-Yard Superhero. Did you read this as a class book? I am just finishing Outsiders with my 7th graders and was looking for a new book that could capture them. It sounds like you enjoyed this. Do you have other recommendations if not it? Thanks!


    1. Stacey,
      Side-Yard Superhero is near and dear to my heart. I would recommend it to anyone. The chapters are isolated stories about the character’s in Ricky’s life so you could read bits and pieces, but I recommend reading the whole thing!

      Two other books I’ve done with 7th grade that were well received: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and Fish by L.S. Matthews

  2. How neat! Please let us know what happens, girl!

    1. Well, on a related note….I did receive an email back from Lois Lowry, the other author we are reading.

      1. WHAT?!?!?! That is ALL of the amazing!!! 🙂

  3. Ms. Hinton is a Tulsa resident (The Outsiders movie was filmed here) and she is very gracious in responding to people who appreciate her books. She graduated from a local high school and wrote about those experiences in her novels. Good luck! I look forward to hearing how your class connects with her.

    1. I really hope she replies!

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