Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A veteran educator's uplifting account of how he introduced schoolchildren to global problems through a visionary game that charged them with saving the world . . . Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading." — Kirkus Reviews
"At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form." — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire
"John Hunter's World Peace Game is more than a brilliant example of educational game design. It shows us exactly how to inspire and manage creative collaboration around the most complex problems imaginable. And given that virtually all young people today are growing up gamers, this book is a must-read for twenty-first century educators and leaders." — Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
"Hunter's optimism is infectious" — Publishers Weekly
"With numerous reflections on the games impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his classs 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of “slow teaching” in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike." — Booklist
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
An uplifting true account of an idealistic twenty-three-year-old teacher who confronted a room of "unreachable, at-risk" students details their life-changing journey through ignorance and misunderstanding and includes powerful excerpts from the students' own diaries. Reprint. (A Paramount Pictures film, written & directed by Richard LaGravenese, releasing Winter 2007, starring Hilary Swank) (Education)
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.
About the Author
A native Virginian and graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, JOHN HUNTER is an award-winning teacher and educational consultant. Hunter led his first sessions of the World Peace Game at Richmond Community High School in 1978. Since then, he has taught the game successfully in a variety of settings, from public schools in Virginia and Maryland to a session with Norwegian students sponsored by the European Youth Initiative. He has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Googles Palo Alto campus, the Pentagon, the United Nations, and elsewhere. His March 2011 TED talk was greeted with a standing ovation, and Arianna Huffington and Chris Anderson named it the No. 1 talk of TED 2011.