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Books: The Great Connector

Creating Bonds With The Outsiders

By Barbara HagenJanuary 11, 2022

My seventh-grade son came home from school earlier this week and announced his language arts class is beginning their next book, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Like many book lovers, this is one of my favorite classic novels and to his surprise, I began to recite Robert Frost's Nothing Gold Can Stay poem in the beginning of the book:

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

It immediately brought me back to my childhood and the first time I read The Outsiders. Frost's poem struck a cord with me then as did the entire story. The Outsiders became one of my favorite books as it exposed a world unlike any I had ever known. Back then I never imagined that decades later in my life a book I enjoyed so much as a child would become a connection point between myself and my kids! Like what I did with my twin girls a few years earlier with this same book, I am re-reading The Outsiders alongside with my son and his class. We are spending time discussing the latest chapter he read and the questions on the worksheet from his teacher. It is immensely enjoyable to see the story unfold through his eyes, and throughout this process it dawned on me that we have in essence created our own mini book club! A bonding experience through this unexpected connection.

Last summer, I was fortunate to meet up with one of my mother's friends, Roxanne, who, it turns out, is a big fan of ThriftBooks. Roxanne spent 15 years teaching and before that was a librarian, so she clearly has a deep knowledge of and passion for books. One of the many memorable comments Roxanne made to me was that it was her parents who had instilled the love of reading in her. (In fact, as we were speaking, her mother was in the other room reading a book!). Roxanne also commented that one of the fun parts of being a teacher was getting kids into a world of books and "allowing books to take them away to another land."

Books are naturally great connectors between all of us in society. We love to share our Goodreads bookshelf, show our latest book hauls on social, scrutinize what celebs are reading when we see them in public with a book, maybe even read over someone's shoulder on a plane. But taking Roxanne's journey in her love of books being passed from her parents to herself to her students, and seeing the connection I can have with myself, my son, and his class, I'd like to think there is a Triple Threat element to books: Bringing in just one more connection can make books an even more powerful force.

Right now, in my case, that triple threat is teacher's class, child, and parent. But it can also be parent, grandparent, and child. Or it can be reader, book, friend. All it takes is adding one more link to your own personal connection with titles you enjoy. Share your Wish List. Post on social. Chat with the person next to you on the plane. Or read along with your child or your grandchild's class. Share with others the books you are enjoying. It's such a powerful connection that we here at ThriftBooks call it ShareBookLove. And we reward you and your connections with free books for doing so with our #ShareBookLove referral program. Sharing can begin from anyone: parents, teachers, friends, or just you! The most important thing is for it not to end. #ShareBookLove and enable those connections to be never-ending.

While I cannot know for sure, I suspect that if the day comes when my son's children read The Outsiders in school, he will recall fondly the discussions he and I shared about that book, a simple school assignment that turned into a timeless ShareBookLove connection.

Read more by Barbara Hagen

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