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The Freedom Writers Diary : How a Teacher…
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The Freedom Writers Diary : How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to… (1999)

by The Freedom Writers, Erin Gruwell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 40 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
I wanted very much to enjoy this book. And some of it I truly did. These teens were amazing people. This teacher is incredible. I love the story itself. The story feels so over-edited, however, that it is hard to believe it. The language is pared down to elementary essentials by an editor who obviously wanted to present a simple story, but somewhere along the way lost the voice of the students. These are truly unique teens, and they sound so cliche and average that the grittier details of their lives are almost unbelievable.
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
This is one of the most inspiring books I have read in a very long time. How many people would actually take on two part-time jobs on top of a full-time 6 hour day teaching job just so that they could take their students on field trips and to dinner to get through to them? How many people in today’s society actually have this much heart and soul?
  TamaraJCollins | Aug 13, 2013 |
Having students journal can be a life-changing experience for everyone involved. After reading this book, I was inspired to go out and purchase 36 notebooks, one for each of my eighth grade students. Some days I would give them a writing prompt, but usually they wrote about things that were going on in their lives, poetry, and other things meaningful to them. That year I had two female students write about molestation that had occurred in their lives. I had to break my promise of confidentiality, as both girls were still having contact with their abusers. They both were able to find their voices (and ultimately transform their lives) through the power of writing. ( )
  YvetteKolstad | May 1, 2013 |
You know, I have no idea what I should write in this box. I mean, HOLY CRAP, I can't even IMAGINE going through the kinds of things that the kids in this book went through. My experiences in life have been... the polar opposites of their experiences! It's nearly unbelievable to me.

Not that I don't believe them. I totally do. I feel horror and shock and outrage and a whole range of emotions at the people who have made these children their victims, and I'm so happy that so many of them were able to overcome their upbringings because of Erin Gruwell's influence and belief in them. This book taught me a lot about how important it is not to judge people by their appearance, and to give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt.

This book was really touching, and I'm glad I read it.

EDIT: I also wanted to add this after re-watching the movie this afternoon:

WOW, they did a GREAT job at translating the kids' experiences and diaries into a movie. It wasn't exactly like the book, but the feeling was JUST RIGHT. I watched all the special features, too, and it really seemed like everyone involved with the project did everything they could to make a movie that reflected the kids' lives in a very honest, straight-forward, and respectful way. I had seen the movie before, and was touched by it, but this time I was also very impressed by everyone... Especially will.i.am (of the Black Eyed Peas) who scored the movie PERFECTLY. ( )
  saraferrell | Apr 3, 2013 |
Inspiring. I'm teaching, and this reminds me how I might be impacting my students if I do it correctly.
  beekeeper33 | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
The Freedom Writersprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gruwell, Erinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Filipovic, ZlataForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038549422X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:46 -0400)

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A true account of a teacher who confronted a room of "at-risk" students details their life-changing journey and includes diary excerpts

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