‘Freedom Writer’ to speak March 14 at NIU

Children's Literature Conference posterNIU’s 34th annual Children’s Literature Conference takes place Friday, March 14, in the Holmes Student Center.

Under the theme “Inspiring with Literature,” organizers hope that conference participants will leave motivated and better equipped to connect with students through literature: This year’s speakers are uniquely qualified to discuss – and offer methods to ignite – the transformative power of literature.

Among the speakers is Tiffony Jacobs, one of the original “Freedom Writers.”

Jacobs and her classmates in Room 203 of Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, Calif. – a group of students regarded as “unteachable,” “below
average”and “delinquents” – forged paths to success through writing  anonymous journal entries about the adversities they faced in their daily lives.

Gangs. Immigration. Drugs. Violence. Abuse. Death. Anorexia. Dyslexia. Teenage love. Weight issues. Divorce. Suicide.

In Room 203, they could “cry, laugh and share our stories without being judged.” Writing, they realized, “is a powerful form of self-expression that could help us deal with our past and move forward.”

Freedom Writers Foundation logoAfter graduation, they created the Freedom Writers Foundation, an organization that strives to empower educators and students to positively impact their own lives as well as the world around them.

Jacobs will speak at 9:30 a.m. Members of the campus and local communities who wish to attend that session only are welcome for $5, which is payable at the door. They also can attend a separate question-and-answer session with Jacobs after her talk.

Cost for the full conference is $149 (NIU alumni rate $139), which includes handbook, breakfast and lunch, and all sessions. Chicago Literacy Alliance members receive NIU alumni rate. Other speakers are Tom Lichtenheld, Joyce Moyer Hostetter, Sherri Duskey Rinker and Thom Barthelmess. Registration is available online.

For more information, call (815) 753-3005 or email ceduexternal@niu.edu.

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