I bought this book on 5/8 from Border's in Gurnee, IL with the gift card my sister (SWDOTB) gave me for Christmas.
c. 1999 -- 277 pages -- Trade Paperback -- How a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them -- #1 NY Times Bestseller -- Now a major motion picture from Paramount Pictures starring Academy Award winner Hilary Swank -- Foreword by Zlata Filipovic -- Teenagers - US Diaries -- US Toleration -- Education - Multicultural Education -- 1 week on the USA Today top-10 Bestseller list (#8 on 1/28/07
Back Cover: As an idealistic first-year English teacher at Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA, 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 CA, 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 Primetime Live, The View, and All Things Considered, coverage in People magazine and major newspapers, a meeting with US Secretary of Education Richard Riley -- and educationally. Through the application of the innovative Freedom Writers Method, Erin's students graduated from high school in 1998.
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.