Wednesday 2 February 2011

Wonderful Wednesdays #2 - Biographies

Wonderful Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Tiny Library . It is about spotlighting and recommending some of our most loved books, even if we haven't read them recently.  Each week will have a different theme or genre of book to focus on.

This week's theme is biographies.

I thought about this quite a lot, and I've decided that my favourite biography (although it's by a group, rather than a single person) has got to be The Freedom Writers Diary.

I actually hadn't read this book until after my roomate at the time made me watch the film, but it was (and still is) one of those films which inspired me so much that I immediately went out and bought all the associated reading material. And by the way, if you haven't seen the film, you really really should.
Basically, the diary is a collection of entries from the diaries of High School English students, most of whom live in the Projects in Long Beach, California. It's basically a record of the way in which their English teacher, Erin Gruwell, uses books, and different forms of English, to inspire the children, most of whom are gang members, or living in horrific circumstances, trying not to get shot everytime they walk out of their door.

The reason that I love this book, and the film, is that it helped to reaffirm my belief in the healing,motivating, and inspiring power of books, at a point when I was having doubts. And on top of that, it's a hugely moving and inspring read!

As well as this, the other biography that I would recommend, especially for anyone who actually teaches English, is 'Teach with Your Heart' by Erin Gruwell, which is actually the biography of the teacher, rather than the students. It's also a great book.  


  1. I saw some scenes from the movie on HBO a couple of years ago, and I thought it was very interesting. I'm particularly interested in the portions written by the students since they've been through so many difficult things in life.

  2. My husband is a teacher, read this book and loved it. I have a copy and should read it too. I've only heard good things about the movie.

  3. Thanks for taking part :D

    When I saw this movie advertised, I thought it looked a bit tacky but after reading your review of the book I think I have got the wrong impression. I'll definitely be looking out for this book now.

  4. The movie is pretty good & though it has some elements of a typical movie about teachers, it has an interesting take on teaching literature to kids with dire home lives. The book sounds great, too.

  5. Sam, I thought the exact samw thing when I first saw trailers for it,which is why I had to be made to watch it,but its definitely worth watching!!

  6. I saw the film and liked it. From the sound of things, I'm thinking the book would be better.

  7. I haven't heard of this one, but it sounded like something I'd be very interested in, so thanks for the recommendation :)

  8. I have seen the film and I loved it! My students watched it at the college where I teach, actually. Sadly, many of them could relate to the stories in the film.

    I'm glad the book is wonderful, too!