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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 inter #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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#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 inter #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.

30 review for The Freedom Writers Diary

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Erin Gruwell was a first-year high school teacher. She was teaching tough kids in Long Beach, CA. Her students are the lowest at the school so she begins with diaries written by others to have them create diaries of their own. She was able to stay with these students for all four years of high school. Then she decided to teach college to new teachers. I teach. I teach well. An yet I find myself discouraged when I read books like this. Not because of the state of education or students in America. Erin Gruwell was a first-year high school teacher. She was teaching tough kids in Long Beach, CA. Her students are the lowest at the school so she begins with diaries written by others to have them create diaries of their own. She was able to stay with these students for all four years of high school. Then she decided to teach college to new teachers. I teach. I teach well. An yet I find myself discouraged when I read books like this. Not because of the state of education or students in America. I find it depressing that to be lifted up as a good teacher you must sacrifice everything else in your life. She gives up virtually all her free time, her marriage and sometimes even her reputation. Perhaps this is why she was only a public school educator for 4 years. As a friend put it: "What the the educational system in America needs are distance runners not flashy sprinters." If you are a new teacher, please don't read this book. Find a mentor who has been teaching for 10 years. It will be far more practical and helpful for you. The best review of the movie (which touches on many of my concerns about the book) I have seen: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/opi...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rye

    I will begin by stating that I did not read this entire book. I made it through 50 or 60 pages. I had not had any intent to read it, as I have heard more than enough stories about the fish out of water young white teacher who is able to "save" the inner city youth from the apparent inevitability of failure. A coworker strongly recommended the book to me and actually put it in my hand, so I decided to give it a chance. As I read one journal entry after another, I was puzzled by the fact that ever I will begin by stating that I did not read this entire book. I made it through 50 or 60 pages. I had not had any intent to read it, as I have heard more than enough stories about the fish out of water young white teacher who is able to "save" the inner city youth from the apparent inevitability of failure. A coworker strongly recommended the book to me and actually put it in my hand, so I decided to give it a chance. As I read one journal entry after another, I was puzzled by the fact that every entry of every child seemed to be written in almost the same exact voice. The vocabulary and expressions used were not what I would expect to hear from a group of high school freshmen, particularly in a group of kids that was previously underachieving and hated reading and writing. Inner city dialect was juxtaposed with difficult vocabulary and phrasing that seemed adult and dated on almost every page. I skimmed through the rest of the book to see if there was any information on how the journals were edited, or if they went through any type of writing process with them (typically a journal wouldn't go through revision) but didn't see any explanation. Maybe I was just missing something. There also was not any description of how Ms. Gruwell was able to elicit the trust of all of her students so quickly (so that they would be comfortable writing about their crimes and personal issues) and get them to write pages and pages when they had refused to do any writing before. It seemed that she was able to have them writing full entries that were eloquent and insightful within the first month or two. I know that there is truth to these stories. I know that this is a real class and Ms. Gruwell is a real teacher. I just can't get past the belief that these diaries are not fully authentic and that these words have been reshaped somewhere along the line; how can I tell how much and by whom? Why wasn't this addressed? Perhaps if the diaries were in their original form, complete with spelling and grammar errors, it would make more sense. As it was, I just couldn't trust it. These are real kids. They have real stories. I want to hear them in their words. I would love to hear other people's opinions on this. Did anyone else have this problem?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    True, this collective diary depicts racism quite poignantly, but what touched me deeply is this: how the teens use writing to come out of the confinement of racism and resurrect their self-esteem. A powerful, captivating narrative.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    I was pretty disappointed by this book from the get-go. Diaries and journals are interesting because you are able to experience someone else's life in real-time. Part of that experience is being immersed in the language, personality, and emotion of the author. The students idolize Anne Frank and Zlata, but don't allow any of their own voices into their writing. Each entry sounds just like the next with only occasional sentences that feel "real" and un-edited. Good writers capture the energy of th I was pretty disappointed by this book from the get-go. Diaries and journals are interesting because you are able to experience someone else's life in real-time. Part of that experience is being immersed in the language, personality, and emotion of the author. The students idolize Anne Frank and Zlata, but don't allow any of their own voices into their writing. Each entry sounds just like the next with only occasional sentences that feel "real" and un-edited. Good writers capture the energy of their experience, and these students have seen too much to be as bland as these examples portray. The few poems recited - although not great - at least convey some emotion. It's a shame since some of these stories are extremely powerful - issues such as homelessness, child abuse, domestic violence, street violence, peer pressure... all expressed in cookie cutter language that could all be written by the same person. I expected to see a realistic progression in the journal entries; I wanted to see improvement as these students grew as writers and people. I appreciate a variety of perspectives, but I think the book suffered from not having a consistent batch of identifiable characters that progressed over the course of four years. Anonymous entries further their cause, but detract from the impact and make it harder to "own" the characters as you read. The book certainly got better as I read. The students certainly had some amazing opportunities, and I was proud to see them develop as people as the book progressed. Perhaps as they got better as writers over the years the later entries were less heavily edited and retained more flavor. I really wish there had been more information about how the book was compiled and edited. Certainly she couldn't have gotten these students to write the long-winded and introspective entries at the beginning of her first semester. Without that information many of these entries feel so forced and unbelieveable that I found it difficult to read them at all. Even an afterword explaining that the pieces were elaborated on and edited before the published final draft would be helpful. I can understand the students wanting to showcase their best work, but I'd like to see more information about the process. From an education perspective... I felt like I wasn't getting the whole story about Ms. Grunell and her resources. It's wonderful that she had the support that she did, but it is so glazed over that it seems like it should be within any teacher's grasp. That doesn't seem quite fair to many of the amazing teachers that struggle just to keep their head afloat. I know that she has another book that is more focused on her methods, and maybe that has more of what I was looking for.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Valdir Delgado

    Freedom Writers by Erin Gruwell is one of the most interesting books I've ever read.It is about how one teacher(Erin Gruwell) makes it her goal to change the way students in her class view the world.The students in her class view the world as one big war zone and have their own goal which is to be able to survive the streets without being killed.Mrs.Gruwell takes it up on herself to show the kids the theirs more to life then gang violence trying to do so she risks losing her job and husband.She Freedom Writers by Erin Gruwell is one of the most interesting books I've ever read.It is about how one teacher(Erin Gruwell) makes it her goal to change the way students in her class view the world.The students in her class view the world as one big war zone and have their own goal which is to be able to survive the streets without being killed.Mrs.Gruwell takes it up on herself to show the kids the theirs more to life then gang violence trying to do so she risks losing her job and husband.She does alot for these kids she get two extra jobs jus so she can take her students on feild trips to see life changing people,and to fancy resturants to show the kids that theres is more to life them the grimy streets they live on.Through out the story you see how the kids treat her sometimes wih no respect because they think that she'll do the same ting everyone else in their life has done which is lie to them.But you'll see that by not giving up on the students like they've already done on them selves you see how they grow on each other and become one big family and start to become cool friends with people outside of their race.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I work in an inner city school. This doesn't quite touch on the way inner city schools really are. For instance, all the kids' writing is in standard English. My kids, when expressing how they really feel, use what I call Urban English. I just couldn't hear my kids in this book. I related a bit to the teacher's writing. But there are a lot of realities that were not portrayed in this book. For instance, the teacher had her own room --- the same room --- for the 4 years she taught. The reality of I work in an inner city school. This doesn't quite touch on the way inner city schools really are. For instance, all the kids' writing is in standard English. My kids, when expressing how they really feel, use what I call Urban English. I just couldn't hear my kids in this book. I related a bit to the teacher's writing. But there are a lot of realities that were not portrayed in this book. For instance, the teacher had her own room --- the same room --- for the 4 years she taught. The reality of my urban setting is quite different. I have taught in about 15 different classrooms in the 3 years I've been teaching. Usually, in the urban schools I know, teachers move from room to room each period. This deeply impacts our instruction. I also hated the way the union was portrayed as protecting the seniority of teachers over the best interests of the kids. Unions in schools is a very complex situation, and, as a union activist, I feel compelled to point this out. My union has done things like ensure that I get a bathroom break, books in my classroom, and paper for the copy machine.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karen J.

    Unfortunately, I did not love the book. I wanted to, being a teacher who hopes she makes a difference, even in some small way, in the lives of her students. Particularly since it was a true story, it had all the potential of a classic tearjerker where this sap is concerned, and yet, it fell flat. First of all, they edited it so much that it felt fake. I think I would have much preferred to see the diary entries as photocopies in the students' own handwriting. It would have added a level of authen Unfortunately, I did not love the book. I wanted to, being a teacher who hopes she makes a difference, even in some small way, in the lives of her students. Particularly since it was a true story, it had all the potential of a classic tearjerker where this sap is concerned, and yet, it fell flat. First of all, they edited it so much that it felt fake. I think I would have much preferred to see the diary entries as photocopies in the students' own handwriting. It would have added a level of authenticity that was sorely lacking. The other major problem with it was that I felt there were things missing. If, in a regular school, in a safer environment, students are ridiculed for focusing on their studies, I can only imagine what the Freedom Writers were going through with all of the challenges that their lives presented for them. I would have liked to have seen more of a rounded picture, more balance between "yay, us!" and what was going on outside their academic utopia. I think I would have liked this better if it had been fiction, to allow me to suspend my disbelief. I felt, being a true story, it should have felt much more real than it did. We didn't get to see the whole picture. Maybe I would have liked it better if I'd only seen the movie, when I could have said, "Well, they only had so many minutes -- they couldn't show everything." Ironic, given that the whole book is about the power of the written word.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Krista Stevens

    An interesting but ultimately unrealistic story of a high school teacher in an urban school in CA who does amazing things with her students. The unrealistic parts - first, the students write diary entries - what I missed immediately were student's voices. With one or two exceptions, they could have all been written by the same student - the stories were different of course (fresh, sad, poignant, brutally honest) dealing with everything from molestation to drugs to violence - but the sentence str An interesting but ultimately unrealistic story of a high school teacher in an urban school in CA who does amazing things with her students. The unrealistic parts - first, the students write diary entries - what I missed immediately were student's voices. With one or two exceptions, they could have all been written by the same student - the stories were different of course (fresh, sad, poignant, brutally honest) dealing with everything from molestation to drugs to violence - but the sentence structure and diction had all been sanitized by too much editing. I would have preferred to see their original writing. Teaching voice is difficult - but it can happen - Each student's voice, like a fingerprint, is extremely unique, represented by punctuation marks, word choice, sentence variety. In addition, some of the entries become redundant. I've been teaching for 25 years now and been involved with three different schools/union. Happily, none of my unions were anything like Gruwell's. There is also not a lot about how she originally caught students - classroom management is not discussed but extremely important, so if you are a novice teacher looking for ideas, I suggest "Teach Like a Champion" instead. Finally, Gruwell left teaching after about four years. If you want to stay in teaching for the long run, there has to be clear boundaries between school and personal life to stay balanced and healthy. Gruwell did not have that and I wonder if that is one of the reasons she left teaching.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baccari

    The Freedom Writers Diary is an amazing, moving, and inspirational piece of art. It consists of a collection of diary entries written by the 150 Freedom Writers and their English teacher, Ms. Gurwell. All of these Freedom Writers are students at Wilson High School in Long Beach California, where they have been placed in a below average English class with Ms. Gurwell as their teacher. This is Ms.Gurwell's first teaching experience, and it will have a lasting impact on her. One of the first assig The Freedom Writers Diary is an amazing, moving, and inspirational piece of art. It consists of a collection of diary entries written by the 150 Freedom Writers and their English teacher, Ms. Gurwell. All of these Freedom Writers are students at Wilson High School in Long Beach California, where they have been placed in a below average English class with Ms. Gurwell as their teacher. This is Ms.Gurwell's first teaching experience, and it will have a lasting impact on her. One of the first assignments she gives is for everyone to keep a journal, no one knew just how powerful these journals were to become, not even Ms. Gurwell. Through out these entries you will learn about the hard lives of these incredible individuals, their amazing English teacher, and their journeys towards changing the world and becoming a second family. When you thick of Long Beach the things that come to your mind are probably beautiful beaches, expensive boutiques, and magnificent mansions. However for the Freedom Writes they saw something much different. They saw a hostel environment filled with corruption, hate, and discrimination. There were multiple gangs, each of different races, causing riots in the streets. It was dangerous for some of these student to just walk home from the bus stop, let alone go out at night. Many of these students lost their innocence at a very young age, never having the opportunity to be a kid. In their journal entries they describe to you first hand the horrors they faced including: gang violence, shootings, the murder/loss of loved ones and friends, the effects of drugs and alcohol, abusive relationships, molesters, and rapes. They felt as though they were at a dead end with no way to turn around, until they met Ms. Gurwell. She couldn't believe the way they viewed their life and refused to accept it. In an attempt to change the way they though about themselves and each other, she decided to change her lesson plan to studying the Holocaust, hoping to teach them about tolerance. Ms. Gurwell provided everyone in the class with a copy of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl to jump start into her lesson of tolerance. At first the students were reluctant to learn, but eventually started to read the book. They were shocked by how well they could relate to Anne. They said they too felt as if they were living trough a war but an "undeclared war". Many of the students wanted to continue learning about the Holocaust and even wrote letters to Meip (the woman who protected Anne and her family during the war) , who would later become a close friend of theirs'. Ms. Gurwell was shocked by their response and continued on, having them read Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo. The students connected once again with the author of this incredible true story, so Ms. Gurwell had them also write letters to Zlata, who had survived her war. She challenged them in their letters to invite Zlata to Wilson, and the unthinkable happened. She came. Ms. Gurwell went on to have her core group of students for all four years they were at Wilson, and continued to receive more kids as the years went on. Everyone wanted to be in her class because it was the one place people said they felt wanted, needed, and safe. They would become a family, and together have a lasting impact on the world around them. As their final project Ms. Gurwell had them compile their journals, which they had been keeping for four year, into a book of their own. She would even get 35 computers donated to them from John Tu, to help aid them in their process. While writing this book they would officially gain their name The Freedom Writers based off of The Freedom Riders, who were a group of American and African American student who rode on a bus through the South to protest against discrimination. Their book would also lead them into incredible journeys such as a trip to Washington DC, where they hand delivered their book to the secretary of education Riley, and going to New York City to accept the spirit of Anne Frank award. ( It was the first time this award was given to a group of people and not an individual.) The Freedom Writers had done the impossible, they had gone from a group of kids in a below average English class to published author, advocates for change, and people who believed in their bright future ahead of them. This book is by far one of the best books I have ever read. It truly opens up your eyes to the world around you, grabbing your attention and refusing to let go. I, even someone 16 years younger then the average student in this book, was able to easily relate to their stories. It was also genuinely inspirational. I always knew I wanted to change the world, but now after reading about the Freedom Writers I know I can. I also was inspired by Ms. Gurwell, I though I wanted to become a teacher but now regardless of where I end up in life I know I want to do something involving the empowerment of the youth, because they are the future of tomorrow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic Premise: First-year teacher Erin Gruwell is given the traditional assignment of her position: the classes none of the other teachers want. She goes on to inspire them to read, write, travel, and go to college. I almost feel guilty for giving this book two stars instead of five. I mean, it's an inspiring story, so it should have blown my mind, right? The book is made up of students' diary entries, so from the get-go the reader has to know that this is not professional writing. It shows. At ti Basic Premise: First-year teacher Erin Gruwell is given the traditional assignment of her position: the classes none of the other teachers want. She goes on to inspire them to read, write, travel, and go to college. I almost feel guilty for giving this book two stars instead of five. I mean, it's an inspiring story, so it should have blown my mind, right? The book is made up of students' diary entries, so from the get-go the reader has to know that this is not professional writing. It shows. At times, the repetition of topics started to actually irritate me. It took me far longer to read this book than it probably should have, simply because I kept getting bored with it. How's that going to inspire my special needs sophomore English class? I've heard that some people have problems with the language and some of the content of the stories (sex, drugs, gangs, etc.). Frankly, I had no problem there. These are diary entries. Honesty is to be expected, and real life today (or in the '90s) is not an episode of The Brady Bunch. Where I had a problem was in the endless repetition of the kids saying the exact same things, telling the same stories, with little variation in voice or tone. It IS an inspiring story. I have to give it that. These kids dealt with a lot, overcame a lot, and seem to have become better people for it. Frankly, I remember the classes I had to teach my first year, and the juvenile delinquents (in some cases this was real truth) in those classes. I wracked my brain daily, as Gruwell did, coming up with ways to not only keep them from tying me to my lectern, but also to engage these students and get them to learn something. Gruwell worked in a racially diverse urban environment where she was the minority as a white woman and got her students to think beyond racial and gang violence. She changed their lives in an inspiring way. Frankly, as I read the book, I found it hard to connect with her story and THAT is what actually bugs me. I kept thinking, "How did she have a life outside of school?" Answer: she probably didn't. "Could I be so dedicated to my students as to take another job (on top of all of the grading, planning, and researching I do for school) to pay for the extra stuff she did for her students?" Answer: I'd lose my bloody mind. It was too much for me. I admire her and the work she did, but she seemed too perfect to be real. As much as I love my kids and want them to succeed, I'm not staying at school until 11 o'clock every night to individually tutor them. By the way: she no longer teaches high school at all. No wonder she burned out after that kind of effort. She teaches at a university, according to the Freedom Writers Foundation website and the afterward of the book. So after only 4 years in a high school classroom, she now teaches others to do what she did. I don't think I like that. Maybe I've just lost the fresh-faced idealism of a brand-new teacher. Maybe I'm just cranky. I don't know. Maybe it's the fact that I'm about to teach this book to a bunch of white kids who live in suburbia whose only knowledge of gangs, life in the projects, or urban poverty comes from the movies. Again with the question of how to make a text connect to my students' lives.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ayla

    Let me start by saying I only picked up this book after I watched the movie and heard they wrote a book. I must say I did not really enjoy the book there was 142 diaries and there was 150 students, they only pick out one diaries entry per person so I really feel like I did not get the story I wanted. There was some story's that I really enjoyed and wish to have read more about,and there was a lot that I did not care for. The way it was written was smart they made one diary picked up where the ot Let me start by saying I only picked up this book after I watched the movie and heard they wrote a book. I must say I did not really enjoy the book there was 142 diaries and there was 150 students, they only pick out one diaries entry per person so I really feel like I did not get the story I wanted. There was some story's that I really enjoyed and wish to have read more about,and there was a lot that I did not care for. The way it was written was smart they made one diary picked up where the others left off so you got to see not just one point of view. I think the movie was better because it held more emotion then the book did. No matter what this class of room 203 made it and made a difference the teacher was amazing so happy they had her in their life. I would recommend this book to students for learning something, but as just reading for fun ehh! not so much just watch the movie. If you like true stories then yes this is a book for you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I had to read this after having seen an essay in Newsweek. We former teachers always want to to hear those great success stories and this is certainly one of them! My only wish is that the rest of the wonderfully creative and committed teachers out there were recognized like this one...the book itself was good. I found it a bit redundant. Worthwhile but I think you'll skip ahead after awhile. I don't want to take anything away from it...buy it, read it, pass it on, support them, give every hardw I had to read this after having seen an essay in Newsweek. We former teachers always want to to hear those great success stories and this is certainly one of them! My only wish is that the rest of the wonderfully creative and committed teachers out there were recognized like this one...the book itself was good. I found it a bit redundant. Worthwhile but I think you'll skip ahead after awhile. I don't want to take anything away from it...buy it, read it, pass it on, support them, give every hardworking, "out of the box" teacher support and encouragement...THIS COUNTRY NEEDS THEM!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natnael M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “Silence ensures that history repeats itself.” Erin Gruwell didn't picture anything close to what she had found at her first days of school as a freshman English teacher in Wilson high-school. people being killed on the streets in broad daylight or night is a regular thing. students might get involved too, who has a very little or no respect for the educational system. Long beach was a place where people see color before anything else. “Society just doesn't care about young people anymore, even i “Silence ensures that history repeats itself.” Erin Gruwell didn't picture anything close to what she had found at her first days of school as a freshman English teacher in Wilson high-school. people being killed on the streets in broad daylight or night is a regular thing. students might get involved too, who has a very little or no respect for the educational system. Long beach was a place where people see color before anything else. “Society just doesn't care about young people anymore, even if we are the future.” She did everything so courageously to the point where her students can get over the intolerance, hatred and violence they were in, living with it everyday. The world gave her the most unstable class she had, and she gave us back freedom writers with this book. If only there're more teachers like her. I like how the transformation happens through reading and at the end they gave us a book to read. Isn't that just great? “I always say that the young people are the future of the world, and if we start with them first, if we educate and develop a sense of tolerance among them, our future, the future of this world, will be in good hands for generations to come.” Even it costs her marriage, she didn't only change her students life, they also changed her. And both the rest of the world with this unforgettable and uplifting collection of their diaries. Giving hope for a generation who used to posses none, growing above stereotypes, this is one what we need most in every part of the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)

    I first heard of this book in Sheila's blog when she reviewed this during the Banned Books week last year. At that point, I wasn't too keen on reading the book, but when I saw the movie pop up in my Netflix recommendations list, I decided to check it out. I didn't have too many expectations from it, but by the end of the movie, I loved it. Who doesn't love a rebel? And I mean a good rebel -- someone who succeeds in something when everyone else expected him/her to fail. The movie was everything a I first heard of this book in Sheila's blog when she reviewed this during the Banned Books week last year. At that point, I wasn't too keen on reading the book, but when I saw the movie pop up in my Netflix recommendations list, I decided to check it out. I didn't have too many expectations from it, but by the end of the movie, I loved it. Who doesn't love a rebel? And I mean a good rebel -- someone who succeeds in something when everyone else expected him/her to fail. The movie was everything about changing your destiny, and all through my life, I've never tolerated the 'fate' and 'destiny' philosophies that anyone dished out to me. I like to believe that I'm the only person who can control my life -- of course there's the butterfly effect and then there is the case where someone else's actions can affect what happens to you, but they are usually single events, and most times, one can always decide one's reactions to such events. Would you rather wallow in depression because you are going through a life-changing mess or would you rather change the way you respond to that mess? The Freedom Writers' Diary is the strongest proof I've seen about how you can make a difference to your life and to those around you. All the kids in Erin Gruwell's class have already been written off as failures, by other teachers, other students, and even their own parents. Worse, none of the kids could identify with Erin -- a white woman staying in a safe suburban residence, with no teaching experience and who had no idea of life in the violent gang-controlled streets of LA. Since even their previous teachers had given up on them, they gave Erin just a month before they believed she would move on. The following 300-odd pages of this book shows so well how every single student has been transformed by Erin's teaching methods, the students' life experiences, their choices and willingness to perhaps hope that maybe they'll come through it all fine. So many stories in the book are moving. There's the student who's the sole caretaker of the family and is on the verge of eviction because he/she has to pay 800 bucks in rent and the car payment is also due. Then the girl who had a really wonderful family life at one point and within a few years, the mother left, the father remarried to a woman she and her siblings couldn't adjust to; soon they moved to an aunt's place who loved her a lot until her lover returned from the jail and the kids were back to square one -- homeless and family-less. There's the boy whose family doesn't have a home to stay in because they are so poor. There's the girl whose parents stole her stuff so that they can fund their drug addiction. There's also the girl who had to bring herself up because her mother was tired of being a mother. There's the boy whose father doesn't think his son will succeed and offers no hope or encouragement. So many of the diary entries make you really sad, but by the end of each entry, I still smiled because the kids weren't writing with despair, they were writing with hope. They made promises to themselves and expressed their gratitude that they at least still had the Freedom Writers. Erin Gruwell and her class were a symbol of hope for all these kids. It's beautiful reading about how these kids change and how they do and wish good for others too. Their hostility is very evident in the initial diary entries, but as I read, I could vividly see the changes happening. It's also a reminder that just because a kid walks around with a gun or a knife, it doesn't mean that they are bad. It means they need help and there are no adults offering them that. I've never had a teacher like Erin Gruwell, but then I've never been in a challenged class like Erin's. Still, every school needs someone like her -- if not to help those 'written-off' kids, then to at least empathize with the kids in their class. All kids have problems -- maybe not as tragic as the circumstances of the kids in this book, but certainly important problems that can have far-reaching consequences later on in life. If four years ago someone would have told me that Ms. G was going to last more than a month, I would have laughed straight in their face. She wasn't supposed to make it, we weren't supposed to make it. But look at us now, the sure-to-drop-out kids are sure to reach higher education. No one would have thought of the "bad-asses" as high school graduates -- as any kind of graduates. Yet, in four years we will be college graduates. Our names will be on the alumni lists of Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, and even Harvard. I loved both the movie and the book -- both are remarkably similar in plotline, but the book is just a bunch of numbered diary entries (you never know the identity of most kids and that lends a poignant innocent feel to the book). In the movie, there are some characters that are more central to the storyline. I loved all the actors who portrayed the students. They really got well into the skin of their characters. The movie also gives a personal look into Erin's life, which is not present in the book. As I understand it, the movie also used Erin's memoir to put together the various threads. I will recommend both the movie and the book to you -- they are both well-done. If like me, you aren't feeling motivated to read the book, you should certainly watch the movie then. I promise that you'll be checking out the book the very next day.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ruben

    Unbelievable (and I mean that in a bad way) I teach ninth grade English and reading at an underperforming high school in California, and I can say one thing with certainty: this book was not written by high schoolers. As others have pointed out, every diary entry reads like it could have been written by the same person. If you took ten children who were all of the same culture and language and grew up with the same teachers, you couldn’t get them to sound as alike as these students do. Not only t Unbelievable (and I mean that in a bad way) I teach ninth grade English and reading at an underperforming high school in California, and I can say one thing with certainty: this book was not written by high schoolers. As others have pointed out, every diary entry reads like it could have been written by the same person. If you took ten children who were all of the same culture and language and grew up with the same teachers, you couldn’t get them to sound as alike as these students do. Not only that, but the quality of the sentences and the depth of thought are outstanding. Any one of these students wrote well enough at age 14 or 15 that by now we should have several dozen professional authors who call Ms. Gruwell’s classroom the place where they learned their trade. I understand that there would have to be some editing for clarity and readability, but the way that each diary entry leads perfectly to the next seems deliberately manipulated. I have no reason to doubt that the events described in the diary entries are true. You could argue that it’s the stories themselves, not the way they’re written that matters, but I disagree: the very thing I want to hear is the students’ voices. I feel like there should be a disclaimer: “Based on true journal entries.” Tell me whether this sounds like a ninth grader from a reading intervention class at a gang-infested high school, or a professional who’s trying to play one: The more I thought about this, the more the concept overwhelmed me. I began to analyze and reflect on my life, my many encounters with injustice and discrimination. It sounds strange, somewhat on the line between irony and absurdity, to think that people would rather label and judge something as significant as each other but completely bypass a peanut. Excuse me, but if that’s what the students who are at “basic” level write, I’d love to read a book written by the proficient and advanced students from Wilson High. I’ve also taught English learners for the past five years. I know what they sound like, and this isn’t it: Like the life of my family, Tony’s life has been permanently altered by the terror of war. He was a survivor of ethnic cleansing; we survived a revolution that turned into terrorism. Even though the Bosnian war was one of ethnicity and religion, it was just as senseless as the terrorism that ransacked my country. It forced many to leave their homes, and their lives. These are the words of a 10th grader who moved from Peru when he was ten years old? But wait, there’s more: It lifted my spirit to see his joy despite his tragic story. Though it hurt him to smile, he laughed anyway. Though he couldn’t understand a word we were saying, he understood that we felt his pain. We too knew what it felt like to live amid war. That’s fantastic. But you want me to believe that this was written by an average student from Ms. Gruwell’s classroom? I’d say that a lot of liberty was taken with the Freedom Writers’ writing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brenna Hobson

    1. I decided to read this book after watching the movie that the book inspired in class. I really enjoyed watching this movie, and thought that perhaps the book could be even better than the movie. However, after finishing the book, I definitely prefer the movie. This is because I found parts of the book quite dull, repetitive, and I also found the writing style very simple and basic (although this is probably because it was written by a group of teenagers). Even if the writing itself wasn't very 1. I decided to read this book after watching the movie that the book inspired in class. I really enjoyed watching this movie, and thought that perhaps the book could be even better than the movie. However, after finishing the book, I definitely prefer the movie. This is because I found parts of the book quite dull, repetitive, and I also found the writing style very simple and basic (although this is probably because it was written by a group of teenagers). Even if the writing itself wasn't very good, I found the story very inspirational, because it shows how anyone can change if they are determined. 2. This book fits the category: A book that has been made into a movie. 3. The most interesting character in this book was probably Erin Gruwell. This is because of her different and unique approach to teaching, her determination and her belief in her students that everyone else had given up on. Even though her students were unwilling to learn, mean to her and mean to others, she persevered and transformed the students into successful people who are positive and an inspiration to others. She changed room 203 from a hostile environment into a home, her class into a family, a group of troubled teenagers into the Freedom Writers. 4. “Don't let the actions of a few determine the way you feel about an entire group. Remember, not all German's were Nazis." This is one of my favourite quotes from this book because I feel that this is a very true statement that applies to many different groups. I have hated entire groups of people, religions, and even countries in the past due to a few individuals, and many other people do this as well. I think that our world could benefit so much from realising this. Our world would be a much better place if we stopped judging a group of people by what a few did. 5. From this book, I have learnt that anybody can change. Even if you are a gang member living in 'the hood', you can still turn your life around. All it takes is hard work and determination.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda C

    This feels like a difficult book to rate fairly. You can either rate the story (as many reviewers did) or rate the book. I am choosing to rate the book, as this is Good Reads, after all, not Inspirational Moments. With that in mind, the book gets three stars. There were a lot of great moments (and the story is very inspirational) but the middle of the book seemed to drag. It felt longer than 280 pages, to be honest. In order to protect the identity of the students, the diary entries were marked o This feels like a difficult book to rate fairly. You can either rate the story (as many reviewers did) or rate the book. I am choosing to rate the book, as this is Good Reads, after all, not Inspirational Moments. With that in mind, the book gets three stars. There were a lot of great moments (and the story is very inspirational) but the middle of the book seemed to drag. It felt longer than 280 pages, to be honest. In order to protect the identity of the students, the diary entries were marked only by number. While I understand the reasoning behind that, it made it difficult to connect with the students because you simply didn't know who was writing each passage, especially as the kids moved from year to year. They could have been identified as "Writer 1, Writer 2" etc. so the reader would at least be able to see how Writer 1 changed throughout the course of high school. A few reviewers complained that the students' voices didn't sound "genuine," i.e. the diary entries should have been published in street vernacular. Another complained that the diary was highly edited by Erin Gruwell. I have a couple of problems with these complaints-- first, the forward to the book and certain diary entries discussed that the students themselves edited the entries to compile the book. Secondly, if the entries were published to sound "authentic", there would have been more complaints that we, the readers, are supposed to believe that the students had changed, but look, here they are, still sounding like thugs from the barrio. I think the decision to clean up the entries was made to present the students in the best possible light and I support that. I think I should at least touch upon the inspirational aspects of the book. If I could put aside the structural problems with the book and rate only on inspiration, the book is a definite 4-5 stars. The majority of the low ratings on GR are from other teachers who frankly have a problem with Erin Gruwell and thus rate the book on that basis. I find that very unfair. There is a mindset that is too often prevalent in public schools that only the "educators" know what's going on and we, as parents, must simply defer to their greater knowledge. In Ms. Gruwell's case, the complaints are that "she was only a teacher for four years..." "how dare she assume that she knows more about teaching than me," etc. Erin related the story of the starfish at the end of the book (putting one starfish back in the sea changed the life of that starfish). She changed the lives of 150 starfish. It is inspirational and to think otherwise is being petty.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    $2.99 There is no way I can do this book justice, but I'm going to give it a shot. All I can say is that I am blown away and so glad I read this book even though I had seen the movie. As is almost always the case, there is so much more to the book than in the movie, mostly IMO how the students feel about going through all that they have experienced. Erin Gruwell, not only challenged her students, but challenged herself when she took a teaching position at Wilson High in Long Beach, California. Whe $2.99 There is no way I can do this book justice, but I'm going to give it a shot. All I can say is that I am blown away and so glad I read this book even though I had seen the movie. As is almost always the case, there is so much more to the book than in the movie, mostly IMO how the students feel about going through all that they have experienced. Erin Gruwell, not only challenged her students, but challenged herself when she took a teaching position at Wilson High in Long Beach, California. Where she got her ideas and information from remain a mystery to me, but she took kids (at risk kids) that everybody had given up on all from the poorest backgrounds and turned them into Freedom Writers, a team and family, often the only one they had. It was never easy, but not only did she believe in them, she was able to make them believe in themselves. She worked extra jobs and was always there for them. Amazingly enough she was able to stick with the same students throughout their four years of high school, and although her name is on the book, her students really wrote this book. It is divided into diary sections all with a number while the authors of each section remain anonymous. If you have seen this movie, then you have to read this book. I can only wonder how the world would be if we had teachers like Erin Gruwell in every school, not to mention I only hope that her students were able to move upward and pay it forward to other children. One life truly can make a difference.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz Janet

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I found myself tearing up a bit at some of the diary entries in this book. Dammit, kids! First year teacher Erin Gruwell found herself handed a class of "undesirable" kids that no one wanted and no one thought would go anywhere, let alone graduate. Thank goodness Ms. Gruwell was crazy optimistic and never lost faith. Her classes, 150 kids, ended up being the center of attention nationwide for their success. And that success started through reading and writing. My 2 favorite things. This book is a I found myself tearing up a bit at some of the diary entries in this book. Dammit, kids! First year teacher Erin Gruwell found herself handed a class of "undesirable" kids that no one wanted and no one thought would go anywhere, let alone graduate. Thank goodness Ms. Gruwell was crazy optimistic and never lost faith. Her classes, 150 kids, ended up being the center of attention nationwide for their success. And that success started through reading and writing. My 2 favorite things. This book is a compilation of their diaries that take us through their freshman year to beyond. In Long Beach, the good neighborhoods are not that far from the bad neighborhoods but they might as well be light years apart. The kids in Ms. Gruwell's class are mainly from the bad areas, where they worry that they'll be shot coming to and from school, or beat up because they are the wrong color, or whether they will have food once they get home or even if they will have a home. It's nearly impossible for kids in these circumstances to succeed. How do you split your time fearing for your life and doing homework? Most teachers had given up on the kids, knowing they'll end up like everyone else in their families. Ms. Gruwell didn't give up. Reading the entries as the kids mocked this young white lady, knowing she wouldn't last 6 months there and how she earned their respect and brought out the best in them was amazing. Dust got in my eyes a few times. The Freedom Writers went on to have a movie made about them, a documentary and created a foundation to assist teachers in helping at risk youth as well as mentoring and sponsoring the youth themselves so they can graduate and go to college. Good book for some inspiration just when this world seems a bit worse for wear.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer

    This is not the edition I read, my copy had 424 pages, not 316. Maybe a Goodreads glitch, maybe not updated for the Twentieth Anniversary Edition, I don't know. Nice to read the tenth and twentieth anniversary diary entries. Kudos to Ms. Gruwell for doing her best to make a difference in the lives of her students. Some reviews feel the writing lacked the "voice" of the students and was kind of boring. I disagree. While clearly edited, as explained in the book, each story is clearly as individual This is not the edition I read, my copy had 424 pages, not 316. Maybe a Goodreads glitch, maybe not updated for the Twentieth Anniversary Edition, I don't know. Nice to read the tenth and twentieth anniversary diary entries. Kudos to Ms. Gruwell for doing her best to make a difference in the lives of her students. Some reviews feel the writing lacked the "voice" of the students and was kind of boring. I disagree. While clearly edited, as explained in the book, each story is clearly as individual and personal as possibly while protecting annonimity. Some have said it's a bit of a "white savior story." Maybe, maybe not. She didn't have to teach where she chose to and she didn't have to make the conscious choice to dive in, head first, but she did. And her student's lives were affected for the better because of her commitment.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    Have you ever wanted to fall in love with a book and you just couldn't? That was this book for me. I owned the book for ages in San Francisco and got rid of it when I moved to Sydney before I was able to read it. I purchased it again in Sydney, special ordered from the United States! "Yes, finally I can read it!" I thought. I was all in for this book. I had such high hopes for it because the movie is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, the book just didn't do it for me. I gave it 156 pages wort Have you ever wanted to fall in love with a book and you just couldn't? That was this book for me. I owned the book for ages in San Francisco and got rid of it when I moved to Sydney before I was able to read it. I purchased it again in Sydney, special ordered from the United States! "Yes, finally I can read it!" I thought. I was all in for this book. I had such high hopes for it because the movie is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, the book just didn't do it for me. I gave it 156 pages worth of my best effort, but I just couldn't do it, and I certainly never fell in love with it. I was devastated and struggled to put it down, hoping the resurrection was just on the next page, but it never came.

  23. 4 out of 5

    sophie b

    i just watched the movie and i have to read this asap

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiasia Saunders

    Read it !!! One of my favorite books of all times from just reading the first page ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  25. 5 out of 5

    William

    I think the student writing is very powerful but I have deep concerns about Erin

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn Gallot

    I decided to read this diary/book after we studied the film in the first half of the year. I was very moved by the film and was determined to read the book and learn about the actual stories of the students more in depth than what the movie had told us about these pupils. This book obviously comes under the category of "a book with themes related to those we've studied in the first half of the year." which is social inequality, and this book definitely has themes related to that as it heavily enfo I decided to read this diary/book after we studied the film in the first half of the year. I was very moved by the film and was determined to read the book and learn about the actual stories of the students more in depth than what the movie had told us about these pupils. This book obviously comes under the category of "a book with themes related to those we've studied in the first half of the year." which is social inequality, and this book definitely has themes related to that as it heavily enforces and emphasises the effect racism has on these teenagers. The Freedom Writers Diary is a collection of over 140 diaries written by Ms Gruwell's students over a period of over 4 years, from their Freshman Year in High School till their Senior Year. I loved the book as it showed the transformation of these kids from hopeless nobodies who never thought they would make it to 18, into aspiring teenagers who were preparing for their futures. With inspiration from the books they read, like Anne Frank's diary, and being able to meet people like Zlata Filipovic (Zlata, from 1991 to 1993, wrote in a diary about the horrors of the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.) and Miep Gies (one of the dutch citizens well known for hiding Anne Frank during World War 2.) Meeting these amazing people really inspired the teenagers, and made them think and question the racial inequality and the gangs and the violence going on around them, you could see how much they were effected by how they wrote and what they wrote in their journal entries. The person that was the most inspiring for me in this book/diary, was definitely Erin Gruwell. When she first came to Wilson High School in Long Beach she came as a student teacher, as she explains in her first entry at the start of the book, and she quickly learned that these students were not normal, they were "gangstas" she also states that her friends had told her that "she should be wearing a bulletproof vest instead of pearls" But despite protests and friends and family members trying to persuade her to not teach at this particular school, Erin was determined that she could point these kids in the right direction and change them for the better. And to everybody's surprise she did just that. She turned gang members into high school graduates, and I respect her so much for that, because not everybody can do what she did. A lot of people would have given up on those kids straight away, but not Erin Gruwell. My favourite quote from the book is definitely "It's always been said that "all good thing come to an end" but I'm learning that they dont have to." This is the very last line in the very last diary entry by one of the students. I absolutely love this line, as it really shows the radical change that has come about these teenagers. They finally believe that good things do happen, and they dont have to stop happening. I learnt a lot while reading this book. Mainly to treasure the fact that I'm not surrrounded by gangs, guns and violence. But also that great things really can happen. If the Freedom Writers, who were thought to have no hope, turned their life around and defied everyone who knew them, then so can you and me. The book is very inspirational and moving, and while I was reading it I couldnt believe some of the things that these kids, who were my age, had to go through. It made me very grateful for the life I have. This book is definitely one that I would recommend. It had very sad parts to it, but also very happy parts to it. I couldnt put the book down and I absolutely loved it, its a great story of triumph and victory.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    For many years, I was a high school English teacher who had the privilege of reading students' stories in papers, journal entries, and the sometimes spontaneous writings they chose to share with me. The anonymous voices in The Freedom Writers Diary are not the authentic voices of students. The stories may be real, but none of them are unique, and they were either all written by the same person (presumably Erin Gruwell), or they are so heavily edited as to entirely different from the originals. In For many years, I was a high school English teacher who had the privilege of reading students' stories in papers, journal entries, and the sometimes spontaneous writings they chose to share with me. The anonymous voices in The Freedom Writers Diary are not the authentic voices of students. The stories may be real, but none of them are unique, and they were either all written by the same person (presumably Erin Gruwell), or they are so heavily edited as to entirely different from the originals. In terms of the narrative, the teacher in this story did nothing any good English teacher doesn't do. She took kids whose poverty limited their life experience on field trips. She brought in guest speakers. She used resources in the community to enrich her curriculum. (Her "community" being Southern California, of course, she had access to some pretty big names.) Many of her students graduated high school, to their credit. (But not necessarily to her credit; kids have to take a lot of courses other than English to graduate high school.) And there's no way every head she blessed belonged to a future graduate; obviously, graduation—or, at the very least, the likelihood of graduation—was one of the criteria needed for a student to be designated one of her official "freedom writers." I don't doubt that the author of this book is skilled at teaching English, like many another teacher I've had the privilege to know or whose writing I've read. What Erin Gruwell is extraordinarily good at, obviously, is self-promotion. Please don't misunderstand. I don't see anything wrong with self-promotion, specially for people who are doing something good. While we now know with certainty that not everything author Greg Mortenson wrote in Three Cups of Tea was literally true, the book is still important for the insight it gave the world into the needs of children and their hunger for learning. The same may be said for this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Martin

    This book was amazing. From the time I opened the book to the time that I put it down, I could not stop reading it. This book was powerful, sad, funny, and everything else in one. While it was a little emotional at times, it also carried a more serious tone with it. It depicted the racial tension with multiple gangs around the area and how many died and how kids ended up living in fear of each other- all to the point where race riots were started in the school and kids had to start carrying weap This book was amazing. From the time I opened the book to the time that I put it down, I could not stop reading it. This book was powerful, sad, funny, and everything else in one. While it was a little emotional at times, it also carried a more serious tone with it. It depicted the racial tension with multiple gangs around the area and how many died and how kids ended up living in fear of each other- all to the point where race riots were started in the school and kids had to start carrying weapons to school. Aside from talking about the struggle during that time perios, the overall message of this book was about the power of writing. Writing, in this book saved the lives of many kids, some of which have gone on to be authors themselves. When the kids got their first writing assignment, they thought it was boring, unneccesary, and things of that nature. but as time progressed, their attitudes trowards writing changed. They becaame one with their journals. They released all their emotions and feelings into the journal, almost as if they were taling to someone who they could actually trust. In their journals, the students wrote about how they live in old, dilapidated houses and how their families were dysfuntional, etc. Through the power of writing, taught to them by Erin Gruwell, their teacher, they became motyivated to keep writing and they realized their true selves. n te end, it saves them from gang violence, peer pressure, and failing school because it changes their hearts, minds, and souls. I would reccomend this book to anyone who takes an interest in not only writing, but how people can overcome adversity by finding their true selves and potential. Erin Gruwell The Freedom Writers Diary

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alivia

    The book I chose to read was The Freedom Writers, by Erin Gruwell. Erin Gruwell, is a high-school teacher at Wilson High. Wilson High is a school filled with troubled teens, teens that have a hard home life or no home life at all. The students their look at one another not as human beings and possible friends, but as strangers that hold a threat to one another’s life.Erin Gruwell gets assigned to a class that had no future and were bound to fail according the Wilson administration. Erin Gruwell The book I chose to read was The Freedom Writers, by Erin Gruwell. Erin Gruwell, is a high-school teacher at Wilson High. Wilson High is a school filled with troubled teens, teens that have a hard home life or no home life at all. The students their look at one another not as human beings and possible friends, but as strangers that hold a threat to one another’s life.Erin Gruwell gets assigned to a class that had no future and were bound to fail according the Wilson administration. Erin Gruwell did not see her students as the Wilson Administration did but as individuals that held unique stories that the world needed to hear. The students wrote about gangs, killing, drinking, drugs, teen pregnancy, abortion, depression and rape. I personal got a shock and a reality check. Sometimes when one is so blessed we often forget to be thankful and not take advantage of the amazing blessings around us. When I red the individual entries of the students which by the way, some were the same age as I am, I reed how they are so thankful to get somewhere without getting shot in the street or getting jumped. To me the purpose of this story is to make people realize things like this really happen, teens do get shot and jumped but you wouldn’t know they endure such events when you look at them. I think this book is proving that nobody really knows someone without taking a few steps in their shoes. Also there is more to people other than what can be seen on the surface, there is something much deeper that cannot be seen with the eye. Erin Gruwell allowed the students to express their stories in a way that would be informative to others and also beneficial to her students. She helped her students see the world in a different light. This story is written in first person, by using first person this allowed the students and Erin Gruwell herself to use great description that really allows you to get into the book, that’s why I rated this book with five stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Reshma

    The Freedom Writers Diary is about a 23 year old English teacher named Erin Gruwell who has come to teach at Wilson high school in order to make a change. Over a period of time she works with room 203. The class gives Erin total disrespect as they all have bad background and have grown up in bad environments. One day Erin finds a racist note and decides to do something about it so she starts teaching them in a different way. As Erin works with them, she brings upon change as she makes them write The Freedom Writers Diary is about a 23 year old English teacher named Erin Gruwell who has come to teach at Wilson high school in order to make a change. Over a period of time she works with room 203. The class gives Erin total disrespect as they all have bad background and have grown up in bad environments. One day Erin finds a racist note and decides to do something about it so she starts teaching them in a different way. As Erin works with them, she brings upon change as she makes them write in a diary about anything they want and at the end of the day she reads them to get to know more about them. She takes the classroom to the holocaust museum and makes them meet with Miep Gies and they all get inspired to be strong, have courage and make a change. This book covers the category of a book with themes related to those we've studied in class in the first half of the year - explain how in your review. This book related to a theme we've done in the first half of the year because in the first half of the year watched this movie for film study. This movie taught us the importance of courage, bravery and change. I decide to read this book because i had not yet read a book that covers this category and i also wanted to read it because i have watched the movie so i wanted to see the differences between the two of them. My favorite quote in the book is when Erin Gruwell says “It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you tell kids they're stupid, directly or indirectly, sooner or later they start to believe it.” I like this quote because i think it's true that if someone says your stupid to your face, you'll start believing it even though it might not be true. I really enjoyed the book as it had more detail

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