The Freedom Writers Diary : How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them
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.
Powerful and Inspiring
By Kelly Budd - May 16, 2001
The Freedom Writer's Diary is a truly amazing project that teacher, Erin Gruwell and her students created. The diary is insighful and offers much meaning to the reader. This book is the product of what young people can achieve.The book is divided into a variety of topics where the students reflect on the assigned readings and make connections to their current realities. The parallels are often heart-wrenching and painful. These are their stories... The Freedom Writers were students who were labelled as at-risk and unteachable until one remarkable person, Erin Gruwell entered their lives. Gruwell rejected the labels and saw the pontential that all young people possess, a lesson for us all.The back cover of the book says it the best, through the use of literature and Erin Gruwell as the guide, the Freedom Writers, "undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding." Highly recommended, read this and you... read more
Freedom Writers Rule!
By A Customer - January 6, 2000
This inspirational book is a must read for teenagers, parents, teachers, and just folks. If i could, i'd buy a copy for everyone i know. In their own voices and in beautifully crafted prose, teenagers tell stories of their daily lives: the physical and emotional war zones they inhabit become real to the reader. With the help of an inspirational teacher, these students read other teenagers' stories and learn to see thier lives in historical context. They read diaries by two girls their own age: Anne Frank, who died in the Holocaust, and Zlata Filipovic, who lived through the war in Sarajevo. This is education with a capital E. Erin Gruwell empowers these young people to transform their realities through the power of the word. The spirit of Anne Frank and the original Freedom Riders lives on in these young heros from Long Beach.
Everyone is trying to change the world. Bono, Brad Pitt, Al Gore, Oprah, Bill Gates. Whether it's bringing justice to Darfur, fighting global warming, building schools, or rebuilding cities, people ...