REVIEWED BY BETH PERRY
On Gruwell's first day teaching in a gang-ridden high school in Long Beach, Calif., in '94, a student sneered, "I give her five days!" But the newbie kept going. Working two part-time jobs, she raised funds to take underachievers on their first field trips, buy tickets for Schindler's List when they studied the Holocaust and even underwrite trips to Europe. In '99 she helped them publish The Freedom Writers Diary, a group memoir about their journey. Teach is a bit dry, but Gruwell's grit will carry readers through—as it did the kids whose lives she transformed.