As Ms. Gruwell prepares for another year of teaching, she describes her summer. After giving a seminar at National University on teaching teenagers to read, she is offered a job teaching education classes a couple of times per week. She is able to save up enough money to go visit Zlata and Miep in Europe.
Ms. Gruwell pursues her educational goals in her free time, as she is able to benefit from the connections she has formed by teaching her students. By traveling to Europe, she demonstrates her eagerness to learn more about historical and cultural issues.
In the Netherlands, Erin meets up with Miep and gives her a care package from her students. Miep tells Erin that her students have made a lasting impression on her, and that she has not forgotten them. She also describes her relationship with Anne Frank, much of which demonstrates her own courage and generosity. Ms. Gruwell is impressed by Miep’s humility. Despite the importance of what she did for Anne and her family, she uses her example to show that anyone in the world, however humble their status or profession, can make a difference in history.
The emotional and intellectual impact that Miep left on Ms. Gruwell’s students is reciprocated, as Miep describes her respect for Ms. Gruwell’s group. Once again, Miep confirms that even isolated individuals can make a difference in people’s lives, in the same way she made a difference in the lives of Anne and her family—and, ultimately, through the publication of Anne’s diary, a change in the minds of people around the world.
When Erin goes to Ireland to visit Zlata and her family, they talk about Sarajevo and Zlata’s parents explain that racial tensions are still present and will make the country difficult to re-unify. Erin is impressed by Zlata’s maturity and wisdom, which seems greater than that of her own students. The two of them become very close, and Erin cries when she leaves. Now, she thinks about how she is going to bring American literature to life for her students, and wonders what activities they will take part in this year.
The issues that Zlata addresses in her diary prove as relevant as ever, even after the war. This signals that racial tensions do not end with the conclusion of a conflict, but that they require a strong commitment to peace among its citizens, as well as an awareness of the danger of ethnic divisions. Zlata’s friendship with Ms. Gruwell demonstrates that maturity and wisdom can be found in children as well as in adults.