Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Sir, With Love” as Want to Read:
To Sir, With Love
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Sir, With Love

by
4.15  ·  Rating details ·  9,894 Ratings  ·  424 Reviews
The author's experiences as a teacher in the slums of London.

When a woman refuses to sit next to him on the bus, Rick Braithewaite is saddened and angered by her prejudice. In post-war cosmopolitan London he had hoped for a more enlightened attitude. When he begins his first teaching job in a tough East End school the reactions are the same. Slowly and painfully some of th
...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published August 4th 2005 by Vintage Classics (first published 1959)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To Sir, With Love, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Anuradha Bhattacharyya The book is about a young man who teaches in a school and happens to be able to solve a lot of problems that the students face in that school. It is…moreThe book is about a young man who teaches in a school and happens to be able to solve a lot of problems that the students face in that school. It is in easy English.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Stacy
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book; it made me cry. I have heard the movie is good too, but I have never seen it.
obh
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A No frills book. Read it during train-journey at night (yes, people still use this old mode of transportation). This book is highly relevant to the current Indian situation, caste and colour have played a great role in the past centuries in India, only after Independence has it been considered as a crime. But still the social stigma of being born into the lower caste has its effect on the minds and hearts of many young children.
In Britain it was if you're black you might as well die, in India
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This may not be exactly the edition I read "back when". This is another book my girl friend from high school gets credit for me reading. In the heated racial atmosphere of the 60s and 70s this was a well read book (and of course inspired a well known movie, whose theme became a hit song).

Unlike a a couple of romances I read more sticks with me from this book. The scenes of the teacher confronting the (at first) rowdy "youths" he is attempting to teach and the frankly lewd actions of some of them
...more
booklady
To Sir with Love was one of my favorite movies when I was younger. Secretly I was in love with Sidney Poitier and envious of his students. Why couldn’t I have a teacher like that?

The book is well worth reading for a couple reasons. For one thing, it’s more realistic than the movie. As is usual in movies, story-line was sacrificed to intensify drama. In the book you have narration, background, and real characters including development. It’s less gripping perhaps, but infinitely preferable.

Also,
...more
Gehna
5 Brilliant Braithwaite Stars!!

This book is a piece of nonfiction narrated by Braithwaite about his experience of teaching teenagers. Braithwaite, black in color gets a job in a school after many refusals because of his skin color. Though the other staff members accepted him, the students were hateful towards him and the story shows how Braithwaite changed this hate to love.

This is a very special book for me as it reminds me of a teacher I have. Those so many things she taught us, apart from a
...more
Rebecca
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it so... Had studied an excerpt in school and so was excited about reading it. Fulfilled my expectations and more. A truly inspiring and heartwarming story. And surprised at the real amount of snobbish rascism abroad.
Sarah AlObaid
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf
4.5 stars.
This book was a very interesting read. It tells the story of Braithwaite, a middle-aged black man, when he gets a job as a teacher in an all-white school in England which is, more or less, not very reputable. The book shows the ever-present prejudice against colored people in the 40's/50's and how difficult it was for them to fit into a racist society, although most of the time it's not openly so. Since racism against black people is very different in England than it is in the United
...more
Suzanne
Another goodie wanting to be re-read. Too young to appreciate first time that I think I will love this second time around. As always, I think of the movie (or should I say video) when as lazy youngsters we would've loved a lazy lesson. And of course all the boys that watched the movie only!
Harry Rutherford
I knew that To Sir, With Love was a book about a black Caribbean man struggling with racial prejudice in 1950s London, so I was quite amused that the opening — his description of travelling on a bus full of East End women — reads so much like a white colonial Briton describing the natives of a third world country. It’s the combination of effortless cultural superiority and an anthropological eye.

The women carried large heavy shopping bags, and in the ripe mixture of odours which accompanied them
...more
Indrani Sen
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
A heart warming book. A story of a black man winning over the students and parents in the poor but cosmopolitan area of London Eats End. A very positive man and his very positive story.
Gorab Jain
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gorab by: Gehna, Arpit
Having loved the movie and recommendations from my friends helped to pick up this book. Inspiring story of one man rising against racism, becoming an ideal teacher and role model against a very harsh backdrop, moulding many lives to bring about positive changes in the society around him.
More than imparting knowledge on the subject matter, Mr Braithwaite becomes the guiding light for imparting moral conduct and judgement, which becomes more pivotal in the overall growth of a student. Every school
...more
Penny
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I re-read this recently and found much of it dated and strangely prejudiced!!! One shouldnt impose today's morals on the past - perhaps!!

This is a well known and inspiring account of a West Indian young man who comes to England following WW2 to work as a teacher. He had tried to get other work but no one would employ him due to his colour. He gets a job in a forward thinking but struggling East End secondary school where the kids are violent and lacking ambition. He gradually earns their respect
...more
Velvetink
The nun's at my high school thought our class incorrigible. They hoped this book would save us, (well in combination with the movie) starring Sidney Poitier as Thackeray and Lulu as Barbara "Babs" Pegg and the film's title song "To Sir, with Love", sung by Lulu, - it did save quite a few of us. Some of us still read books! Only those who passed the English exam (included an essay on the book) were allowed the excursion to see the film.
Jeannie
I read this book many years ago for a unit I was assigned to teach my eighth grade classes during my student teaching experience. We watched the movie at the end of the unit. The book was much better. It inspired me to work hard to be the best teacher that I possibly could become. Maybe it spoke to me so clearly because this book isn't really about the methods--it's more about the heart behind the methods. It really isn't so much about academics either. Braithwaite's focus is on the moral and so ...more
Shamidha Hameed
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful! Having worked as a teacher in an elementary school and as a trainer in a professional course college, I have had some experience with students aged 7-25. Whatever their age, I have felt that if the teacher shows them respect and love, the students reciprocate the same in double the measure!

This book reminded me of my days as a teacher in a school in the Middle East where people are generally branded as arrogant and bossy. But I realized that when you get to know those people and their
...more
Manasa
Review to come.
Paul Lothane
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

How apposite that I would re-read this book again after hearing that the revered old man, Braithwaite (the author) is dead, one of the world's most famous centenarians. This book is very well-written as the world knows, with lots of fine descriptions, allusions, and the work for decades has always added to one's vocabulary. For us Africans, however, Braithwaite always apparently lacked a sense of humour, which ironically is often associated with his race, even those who've been oppressed and sup
...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I first saw the film with Sidney Poitier that was made from this book. The film was OK, if a bit sentimentalised, and may have started the trend of "wonderful teacher" books and films, which I usually avoid, particularly if they are written by the teacher in question, or ghostwritten for him or her.

This book is a case in point. Even considering the writing style at the time of publication, I found Braithwaite's prose to be pompous and self-congratulatory in the extreme. He was teaching final yea
...more
Kandice
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I've read this book and you would think that after the first time I wouldn't be surprised by the differences between the movie and the book. I'm not saying the movie is better, I'm just saying it sets a very, very different tone than the book.

Ricky Braithwaite is a young, black man trying to make a living in Britain. It's the 60's and prejudice is behind the British Empire. Ha! Not so much.

When he can't find a job in his field he tries for a teaching position at a progres
...more
Rishi Prakash
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books which was always on the reading list but somehow could not get my hands on it! Glad the new year started with this book :)

E R Braithwaite’s autobiographical nove is based on his own experience as a black teacher in a tough East End secondary modern school, gives a remarkable insight into the politics of class and race in postwar London in 1950's and the struggle of a well educated and qualified ex-air force guy to settle in England .

This fine and heart touching portr
...more
Shelby Hanson
This book is about a black man that can't find a good job, so he has to be a teacher because of his skin color. This story is set in Greenslade Secondary School in the east London disrict.This black man in E.R. Braithwaite and he is the author of this book. The school he works in is in a rough neighborhood and his class is less than disiplined. So throughout the book the realtionships with Braitwaite and his students grow more and more through respect and guidance; that includes overcoming raci ...more
Purvi Petal
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most remarkable and impacting books I read first as a student in class VIII and then as a teacher in two Co-Ed schools. The issues covered in the book are real to date and so very poignantly relevant, I relate to it all the more strongly as a woman teacher having to deal with almost the same issues and more on a regular basis. As per my understanding, the book needs to be introduced as part of syllabus for middle school learners as the book deals effectively, 'with love', the fundamen ...more
Erin
Dec 03, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Received as part of the holiday book exchange that I entered through my friend Kathy Lawson, along with a lovely note, "Hope you enjoy! I understand you're an avid reader so I looked for one of my favorites off the beaten path. Praying you've neither read it nor seen the movie! Best wishes, Catherine"

Well, I've neither seen the movie nor read the book, so I'm excited about this one! Thanks, Catherine!
Laura
Excellent piece of work, better than the movie.
Vincent Ho
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in my 8th Grade. Is still the writing style and the way of delivering the message I compare when reading other books.
VaultOfBooks
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

By E. R. Braithwaite. Grade A
I had never heard of this book until I read an excerpt from it last year. The excerpt was half a chapter of the book which was in our Functional English syllabus for the second terminal exams in Eleventh Standard. I found the excerpt very, very intriguing and that day I decided that I am going to read this book for sure.
The modern classic about a dedicated teacher in a tough London school who slowly and painfully breaks down the barriers of racial prejudice. It is th
...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
To Sir, With Love by E. R. Braithwaite has been recently re-released by Open Road Media and is highly recommended for the intelligent narrative as well as the historical perspective on racism.

Originally written in 1959 and set in the post WWII tough East End of London, To Sir, With Love is a nonfiction account of a well-educated 28 year old man from Guyana who stumbles upon his teaching career by accident when he cannot find another job due to his skin color. Braithwaite accepts the teaching pos
...more
Joy Sorensen
First and foremost, I was so excited when I actually won a book from Goodreads. It felt like my lucky day, especially since it was one I have wanted to read for years. Sadly, after winning it in September I started a full time job and my reading time diminished. It was my first "to-read in 2017" goal and I finished it quickly. Having loved this movie all of my life, I found myself reading the book through the voice of Sidney Poitier, and it was delightful. I like the back history of his military ...more
Jess MacFarlane
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'To Sir, with love' by E.R Braithwaite is a truly inspiring story. It is about a teacher that goes into a very run-down school with badly behaved children to teach them and he eventually turns the students into well behaved mature adults.

I decided to read this book because my mum suggested it to me and she said it was really good. She was right, i absolutely enjoyed every minute of this fantastic story.

This book fits into the category 'A book with themes related to those we've studied in class i
...more
D
a badly aged tale that's not worth the read today.

braithwaite was such a flawed character -- sharply classist, espousing horribly aged mores, sexist, vain, verbally abusive -- that it was difficult to find his tale as sweet and uplifting as he'd meant it to be. when he railed at his female pupils for being sluts and humble bragged about his good looks, intelligence, and astounding teaching ability, i stopped rooting for him.

before reading it, i'd thought of this book by reputation as a tough-lov
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Read Runners: To Sir, With Love - Buddy Read 11 21 Sep 02, 2015 08:24AM  
  • Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
  • Up the Down Staircase
  • The African Queen
  • The Piano
  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar
  • Good Morning, Miss Dove
  • The Lilies of the Field
  • The Trouble with Angels
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  • Teacher
  • The Bridge Over the River Kwai
  • The Mystery of Death Trap Mine (Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators, #24)
  • Elephant Man
  • The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows
  • Journey from Venice
  • O Ye Jigs and Juleps!
  • Evil Angels: The Case of Lindy Chamberlain
  • Of Street Piemen
39481
E.R. (Edward Ricardo) Braithwaite was a novelist, writer, teacher, and diplomat, best known for his stories of social conditions and racial discrimination against black people.

An alumnus of Queens College, Braithwaite excelled at City University of New York, after which he served in the RAF during WWII as a fighter pilot (1941-45) and then went on to receive an advanced degree in Physics from Cam
...more
More about E.R. Braithwaite...

Share This Book

“So long as we learn it doesn’t matter who teaches us, does it?” 44 likes
“There's no corporal punishment here, or any other form of punishment for that matter, and the children are encouraged to speak up for themselves. Unfortunately, they're not always particularly choosey about the things they say, and it can be rather alarming and embarrassing.” 12 likes
More quotes…