Academic Adviser, On the Record
Founder, Freedom Writers Foundation
During her first year of teaching in Long Beach, California, Erin Gruwell faced a classroom of students who seemed destined for failure. They’d been raised in a world of poverty and street violence, divided by ethnic hatred and gang loyalties. She responded
by creating a new curriculum based on the stories of people whose lives and struggles her students could relate to. She had them read the diaries of Anne Frank and Zlata Filipovic, and study the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement. With these lives as inspiration, Erin Gruwell urged her students to tell their own stories and put their voices on the record. Their journals turned into a bestselling book, The Freedom Writers Diary. Against all odds, everyone in the class graduated from high school.
Scholastic brought together the passion of Erin Gruwell and the tested wisdom of Dr. Alfred Tatum to create On the Record™—a bold new nonfiction program that will inspire middle school students to read with skill, write with passion, and live with purpose.