The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them
- Publish Date: 1999-10-12
- Binding: Paperback
- Author: The Freedom Writers
#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 âunteachable, at-riskâ 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 Holocaustâonly to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlataâs Diary: A Childâs 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 âFreedom Writersâ in homage to the civil rights activists âThe Freedom Riders.â
With funds raised by a âRead-a-thon for Tolerance,â they arranged for Miep Gies, the courageous Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California, where she declared that Erin Gruwellâs students were âthe real heroes.â Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognitionâappearances on âPrime Time Liveâ and âAll Things Considered,â coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Rileyâand educationally. All 150 Freedom Writers have graduated from high school and are now attending college.
With powerful entries from the studentsâ 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 authorsâ proceeds from this book will be donated to The Tolerance Education Foundation, an organization set up to pay for the Freedom Writersâ college tuition. Erin Gruwell is now a visiting professor at California State University, Long Beach, where some of her students are Freedom Writers.