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Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times best seller

The 20th anniversary edition of the classic story of an incredible group of students and the teacher who inspired them, featuring updates on the students’ lives, new journal entries, and an introduction by Erin Gruwell

Now a public television documentary, Freedom Writers: Stories from the Heart

In 1994, an idealistic first-year teacher in Long Beach, California, named Erin Gruwell confronted a room of “unteachable, at-risk” students. She had intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust. She was met by uncomprehending looks - none of her students had heard of one of the defining moments of the 20th century. So she rebooted her entire curriculum, using treasured books such as Anne Frank’s diary as her guide to combat intolerance and misunderstanding. Her students began recording their thoughts and feelings in their own diaries, eventually dubbing themselves the “Freedom Writers.” 

Consisting of powerful entries from the students’ diaries and narrative text by Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary is an unforgettable story of how hard work, courage, and determination changed the lives of a teacher and her students. In the two decades since its original publication, the book has sold more than one million copies and inspired a major motion picture Freedom Writers. And now, with this 20th-anniversary edition, listeners are brought up to date on the lives of the Freedom Writers, as they blend indispensable takes on social issues with uplifting stories of attending college - and watch their own children follow in their footsteps. The Freedom Writers Diary remains a vital listen for anyone who believes in second chances.

©1999 The Tolerance Education Foundation (P)2006 Books on Tape

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What listeners say about The Freedom Writers Diary

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Authentic voices

Most of this book is excerpted from teen diaries, and the authenticity of the individual voices ring clear. Inspirational but never hokey, it reveals children's pain, hope and discovery. It reaffirmed my belief that there should be no throw-away children. The movie was a pallid shadow of this intriguing book.

9 people found this helpful

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Great reading for educators, parents, and kids

This is the true story of a young teacher, Erin Gruwell, and diary entries from her "unteachable" students in Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. When she found a cartoon of a big lipped boy being passed around her classroom, in her rage she told her class that this stereotyping is how the Holocaust got started. When she realized that none of her students had heard of the Holocaust, she assigned the kids The Diary Of Ann Frank, and thus began her program of writing for tolerance and change, rather than violence and ignorance.

This book includes the anonymous entries, for the safety of her students, of the diary writings of her students telling of their personal issues and problems around violence, racism, gang "ethics", drugs, alcoholism, spouse abuse, child sexual abuse, and one parent families, etc. Various activities, visits to famous places, corporate help, and determined hard work changed these kids from failures and hoodlums, into productive kids pursuing college educations and "legal" careers.

Great read for educators, parents, and children who may see the connection of their problem lives to these children. The focus is for hard work, determination, courage, hope, and understanding of the humanity of all kinds of people through sharing ideas in writing rather than violence. Excellent book---good for thought for everyone!!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Book

I loved this book. It was a real awakening as to what goes on in our own back yard. The narration was great. I could not stop thinking about the kids in this book. I wish I could read a follow-up!

9 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Amazing book straight from the people you can't get any better then that unless you live it, witch trust me sucks I've been there I understand some of the things they go through

3 people found this helpful

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Youth Development 101

I love it! I work with youth. So I was able to understand and relate.

1 person found this helpful

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Definitely made it to my top of favorite books

I loved this book! It is inspiring in so many ways! I would recommend for all ages, specifically middle school and higher. this book reminds us about how being different is beautiful and should be embracing as well as how anyone can be anything they set their mind to!

1 person found this helpful

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Inspiration at any age.

I thought a series of individual diary entries would be difficult and without a story line. But by selecting the entries that chronicles the years in High School a story does emerge that is true and inspirational.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

Wow. This was beyond amazing. Has me speechless and grateful for all the freedom writers and Erin for sharing their stories.

1 person found this helpful

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The Freedom Diaries

Absolutely loved it! It ties together the movie and the Freedom Diaries. Very emotional, content is exceptional .!!!

1 person found this helpful

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Must read for teachers

I really enjoyed this book and liked the way that the book was presented, each student contributed to the overall story with an entry of their diary. I was so impressed with how Erin contacted people and resources to help the students learn about life outside Long Beach. She is a very inspiring teacher. My only criticism is that I was a little disturbed that the students' privacy was violated by sharing the diary entries with other students during the creation of the book. Students are smart, eventually they will figure out by deduction, which student wrote the entry about being sexually abused or which student was locked in a trunk.