I’d heard a lot about The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by Erin Gruwell and so took some time during our holiday to read it. This is the book that the movie “The Freedom Writers” is based on. These are the diaries of the students put into one book.
There are no names used in the book – each diary entry has a number, so that the students could feel free to write what they wanted without knowing exactly who wrote what. Personally, I think this is a great idea because the diary entries were very open and you could tell the students wrote exactly what they felt.
It is a truly excellent book, because everything is so real – many of The Freedom Writers had to grow up at an extremely early age. Many had their innocence taken away around the age of ten. The Rodney King riots were going on and the Columbine High School event occurred during the time of the book. These high school students had seen more murder and dead bodies then most people will ever see in their entire lives.
Many of The Freedom Writers have even been shot at; segregation is still an issue in the United States, even though many people don’t have to deal with it.
This book taught me a lot about tolerance and what happens on the streets of Long Beach, California. I highly recommend this book for all teachers, youth workers, and anyone interested in the education of our youths, their future and their welfare.