First year teacher Erin Gruwell found herself handed a class of "undesirable" kids that no one wanted and no one thought would go anywhere, let alone graduate. Thank goodness Ms. Gruwell was crazy optimistic and never lost faith. Her classes, 150 kids, ended up being the center of attention nationwide for their success. And that success started through reading and writing. My 2 favorite things. This book is a compilation of their diaries that take us through their freshman year to beyond.
In Long Beach, the good neighborhoods are not that far from the bad neighborhoods but they might as well be light years apart. The kids in Ms. Gruwell's class are mainly from the bad areas, where they worry that they'll be shot coming to and from school, or beat up because they are the wrong color, or whether they will have food once they get home or even if they will have a home. It's nearly impossible for kids in these circumstances to succeed. How do you split your time fearing for your life and doing homework? Most teachers had given up on the kids, knowing they'll end up like everyone else in their families. Ms. Gruwell didn't give up.
Reading the entries as the kids mocked this young white lady, knowing she wouldn't last 6 months there and how she earned their respect and brought out the best in them was amazing. Dust got in my eyes a few times.
The Freedom Writers went on to have a movie made about them, a documentary and created a foundation to assist teachers in helping at risk youth as well as mentoring and sponsoring the youth themselves so they can graduate and go to college.
Good book for some inspiration just when this world seems a bit worse for wear.