Jun 29, 11
Read in June, 2011
To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is an important reminder that kids grow and learn when they feel that what they are learning is relevant to them, and that their voices will be affirmed and accepted.
On the other hand, as a long time English teacher, I have doubts about the authenticity of the writing. While I have no doubts that the feelings and the stories are the students' own, I also have no doubt that there were some skillful editors involved in this project. As someone who reads essays written by high school students on a daily basis, I know that they often have wonderful ideas and unique ways of looking at things, but I also know that they tend not to write like New York Times reporters.
Once I got into the story I was able to ignore the polish and just concentrate on the action. I do plan on visiting the Freedom Writers website and looking at the lesson plans there - if I really could get my students to write like this without the aid of the editorial staff at Doubleday, that would be amazing!