The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World around Them

The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World around Them

Book rating: 05 Paperback Broadway Books

By (author) Freedom Writers, By (author) Erin Gruwell

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#1 "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER & NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Straight from the front line of urban America, the inspiring story of one fiercely determined teacher and her remarkable students. As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of "unteachable, at-risk" students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust--only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" and "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo" as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the "Freedom Writers" in homage to the civil rights activists "The Freedom Riders." With funds raised by a "Read-a-thon for Tolerance," they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwell's students were "the real heroes." Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognition--appearances on "Prime Time Live" and "All Things Considered," coverage in "People" magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley--and educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college. With powerful entries from the students' own diaries and a narrative text by Erin Gruwell, "The Freedom Writers Diary" is an uplifting, unforgettable example of how hard work, courage, and the spirit of determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students. The authors' proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writers' college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.

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Author information

ERIN GRUWELL, the Freedom Writers, and her nonprofit organization have received many awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award, and have appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show, Prime Time Live, Good Morning America, "and The View, to name a few. All 150 Freedom Writers went on to graduate from Wilson High. She lives in Long Beach, California.

Customer reviews

By shayla lavalley 27 Jun 2013 5

ok soo is your name really Mrs. G?

By TeensReadToo 19 Sep 2010 5

This is the book that the movie "The Freedom Writers" is based on. These are the diaries of the students put into one book.

There are no names used in the book--each diary entry has a number, so that the students could feel free to write what they wanted without knowing exactly who wrote what. Personally, I think this is a great idea because the diary entries were very open and you could tell the students wrote exactly what they felt.

THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY is a truly excellent book, because everything is so real and most of The Freedom Writers had to grow up at an extremely early age. Many had their innocence taken away around the age of ten. The Rodney King riots were going on and the Columbine High School event occurred during the time of the book. These high school students had seen more murder and dead bodies then most people will ever see in their entire lives.

99% of The Freedom Writers have even been shot at. This is an extremely true and eye-opening statistic. Segregation is still an issue in the United States, even though many people don't have to deal with it. This book taught me a lot about tolerance and what happens on the streets of Long Beach, California.

*Gold Star Award Winner!