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The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Themby Freedom Writers
Synopses & Reviews
Shocked by the teenage violence she witnessed during the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, Erin Gruwell became a teacher at a high school rampant with hostility and racial intolerance. For many of these students — whose ranks included substance abusers, gang members, the homeless, and victims of abuse — Gruwell was the first person to treat them with dignity, to believe in their potential and help them see it themselves. Soon, their loyalty towards their teacher and burning enthusiasm to help end violence and intolerance became a force of its own. Inspired by reading The Diary of Anne Frank and meeting Zlata Filipovic (the eleven-year old girl who wrote of her life in Sarajevo during the civil war), the students began a joint diary of their inner-city upbringings. Told through anonymous entries to protect their identities and allow for complete candor, The Freedom Writers Diary is filled with astounding vignettes from 150 students who, like civil rights activist Rosa Parks and the Freedom Riders, heard society tell them where to go — and refused to listen.
Proceeds from this book benefit the Freedom Writers Foundation, an organization set up to provide scholarships for underprivieged youth and to train teachers
Award-winning teacher and high-profile public speaker John Hunter offers insights into conflict resolution and collective problem-solving gleaned from his many years teaching kids through the "world peace game," an innovative global systems simulation he created.
In John Hunters classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well funded and underresourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve dozens of complex, seemingly intractable real-world challenges, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare, financial collapse to climate change.
In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, Hunter shares the wisdom hes gleaned from over thirty years teaching the World Peace Game. Here he reveals the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply anywhere. His students show us how to break through confusion, bounce back from failure, put our knowledge to use, and fulfill our potential. Hunter offers not only a forward-thinking report from the front lines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future can be.
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 Holocaustonly to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlatas Diary: A Childs 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 Gruwells students were “the real heroes.” Their efforts have paid off spectacularly, both in terms of recognitionappearances on “Prime Time Live” and “All Things Considered,” coverage in People magazine, a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Rileyand 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.
About the Author
Erin Gruwell, the Freedom Writers, and her nonprofit organization have received many awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award, and have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Prime Time Live, Good Morning America, and The View, to name a few. All 150 Freedom Writers went on to graduate from Wilson High. She lives in Long Beach, California.
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