Shocked by the teenage violence she witnessed during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Erin Gruwell became a teacher at a high school rampant with hostility and racial intolerance. For many of these students-whose ranks included substance abusers, gang members, the homeless, and victims of abuse-Gruwell was the first person to treat them with ...Read MoreShocked by the teenage violence she witnessed during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Erin Gruwell became a teacher at a high school rampant with hostility and racial intolerance. For many of these students-whose ranks included substance abusers, gang members, the homeless, and victims of abuse-Gruwell was the first person to treat them with dignity, to believe in their potential and help them see it themselves. Soon, their loyalty towards their teacher and burning enthusiasm to help end violence and intolerance became a force of its own. Inspired by reading "The Diary of Anne Frank" and meeting Zlata Filipovic (the eleven-year old girl who wrote of her life in Sarajevo during the civil war), the students began a joint diary of their inner-city upbringings. Told through anonymous entries to protect their identities and allow for complete candor, "The Freedom Writers Diary "is filled with astounding vignettes from 150 students who, like civil rights activist Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders, heard society tell them where to go-and refused to listen. Proceeds from this book benefit the Freedom Writers Foundation, an organization set up to provide scholarships for underprivieged youth and to train teachersRead Less
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Having taught in the inner city, this is an inspiring book to any teacher who is up for the challenge of working with this kind of youth. The author tells of her fears, failures and successes with inner city youth in Long Beach, CA. Although it is a bit dated, it shows what a dedicated teacher can do with students who are expected to fail.
Sep 4, 2009
Interesting book for young adult entering a multi cultural high school.
Jul 16, 2007
Read It Like It Is
This is an incredible and inspiring realistic book. As a teacher I am always on the lookout for something that will interest me and my students. I found this book last Christmas break. I ordered the book and read it the next day. My students related to and identified with the characters in the book. I had students who told me that they had goosebumps while reading the diary entries because it was so close to home to them. I never had any trouble getting the students to read the book. I highly recommend that it be a part of the school curriculum. This book planted the seeds of becoming better young adults through examples of courage, trust, understanding, and tolerance. I intend to use this book every year. Sure the language is rough in a few places, but students loved being able to read it out loud and not get in trouble. It was part of the hook for me....telling it like it is in language the students could relate to and understand. Erin Gruwell inspired me to not be afraid and keep standing up for what I believe in and most of all "doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do". Just like Eva in the book, her courage was untouchable and inspirational. This one character was a lesson in itself. The book is written in diary entries making it easy to start and stop. It is also written in such a way that even reading challenged students could read an entry without being embarrassed. This is a terrific book that every teacher should read. It is straight from the heart.
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