Freedom Writers Diary How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them

ISBN-10: 038549422X

ISBN-13: 9780385494229

Edition: 1999

Authors: Freedom Writers Staff, Miep Gies, Erin Gruwell

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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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Book details

List price: $14.99
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/12/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

Miep Gies was born Hermine Santrouschitz in Vienna. Austria on February 15, 1909. After World War I, Austrians were suffering from a food shortage and she was sent to Leiden, the Netherlands, as part of a relief program to help malnourished children. In 1933, she heard about an opening as an office assistant for Otto Frank. She took the job and became good friends with Otto Frank and his family. The German occupation of the Netherlands began in May 1940. Having lived in Germany, Otto Frank knew the situation would only get worse and in the spring of 1942, he called Gies into his office and told her of his plan to hide his family and four other Jews in a secret annex. From July 6, 1942, until August 4, 1944, she and others brought them food, supplies, and news of the outside world. After the Gestapo raided the annex and sent the people in hiding to concentration camps, she found Anne Frank's diary in the debris and hid it in a desk drawer until after the war, hoping to return it to its young author. Upon learning that Anne Frank died at Bergen-Belsen, she gave the diary to Otto Frank and he published it in 1947. After the book was published, she devoted the rest of her life to keeping the memory of Anne Frank alive by travelling to dozens of countries, giving speeches at schools and always responding personally to letters from children. She received the Raoul Wallenberg Award for bravery in 1990 and the Order of Merit from Germany in 1994. In Israel, the Yad Vashem memorial pays tribute to her as a member of the Righteous among Nations, a list of non-Jews who helped Jews during the Holocaust. She wrote an autobiography entitled Anne Frank Remembered in 1988. She died after a short illness on January 11, 2010 at the age of 100.

Erin Gruwell is the president of the Freedom Writers Association and the author of The Freedom Writers Diary and Teach With Your Heart. The 2007 film Freedom Writers starring Hillary Swank is based on Gruwell's inspirational story. She lives in Long Beach, California.

Freshman Year--Fall 1994
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
First day of school
Racial segregation at school
Getting "jumped"
Race riot on campus
Buying a gun
Death of a friend
Gang initiation
"Rushing" a sorority
Proposition 187: Discrimination
Juvenile hall
The projects
Russian roulette
Freshman Year--Spring 1995
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Romeo and Juliet: Gang rivalry
Teenage love and running away
Coping with weight
Learning about diversity
Oklahoma bombing
Farewell to Manzanar: Japanese internment camps
Overcoming adversity panel
John Tu: Father figure vs. absent father
Freshman turnaround
Sophomore Year--Fall 1995
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Cystic fibrosis
Twelve Angry Men
Honors English
Medieval Times
Lesson on tolerance
Toast for change
Change for the better
Testifying in murder case
Teenage alcoholism
Anne Frank's diary
Teen diarists
Zlata's Diary--Bosnia vs. L.A. riots
Peter Maass: Article on Bosnia
Sophomore Year--Spring 1996
A Letter to Zlata
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Meeting a Holocaust survivor
The woman who sheltered Anne Frank's family
Zlata accepts our invitation
Dinner with Zlata
Diverse friendships
"I am a human being"
Day of tolerance: A field trip
Doing speed
Basketball for Bosnia: Weight
Zlata's Letter
Friends join class
Letter from Miep
Junior Year--Fall 1996
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Racist teacher
A grandmother's death
Race riot
Grade accountability
Running away
Getting a job
Boyfriend abuse
Domestic violence
Child abuse
Death of brother
Junior Year--Spring 1997
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Anne Frank's friends visit
Masking fears
Living in the projects
Letter from Miep
Student editing
Catalysts for change
Freedom Riders
An American Diary . . . Voices from an Undeclared War
Fund-raiser concert
Freedom Writer poem
Freedom Writers unite
Strict father
Arlington Cemetery
Lincoln Memorial: Freedom Writers have a dream
Covering up the swastika
Hate crimes
Holocaust Museum
Dr. Mengele's experiment with twins
Dinner with Secretary Riley
Secretary Riley receives Freedom Writers' diary
Candlelight vigil
Departing D.C.
Returning a family hero
Jeremy Strohmeyer: Murder
David Cash
Peace march for Sherrice Iverson
Senior Class President
Separation anxiety
Staying together
Senior Year--Fall 1997
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Cheryl Best: Inspiration
"Eviction Notice"
Financial problems
Illegal immigrant
The first Latina Secretary of Education
Pursuing filmmaking
Road not taken: Contemplating college
Finding a mentor
Being a mentor
Los Angeles Times article
A letter from prison
Deadbeat dad
Sorority hazing
Fear of losing a father
Death of a mother
Senior Year--Spring 1998
Ms. Gruwell's Diary Entry
Guess? sponsorship
Spirit of Anne Frank Award
New York City roommates
Celebrating Anne Frank
Abuse of power
Peter Maass: The role of a journalist
Book agent
Getting published
Basketball playoffs: Teamwork
A lesson from Animal Farm
Attitude adjustment
Introducing Senator Barbara Boxer
Attention deficit disorder
Prom queen
"Whoever saves one life saves the world entire"
Breaking the cycle
Football all-American
Baseball dilemma
A college acceptance
Fear of abandonment
Teenage pregnancy
Southwest Airlines
Computers for college!
The giving tree: Crackhead parents
Graduation Class Speaker
From drugs to honors
Overcoming the odds
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