I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin AlifirenkaThe true story of an all-American girl and a boy from an impoverished city in Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever.
It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlins class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. All the other kids picked countries like France or Germany, but when Caitlin saw Zimbabwe written on the board, it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of--so she chose it.
Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only ten letters, and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one.
That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.
In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends --and better people--through letters. Their story will inspire readers to look beyond their own lives and wonder about the world at large and their place in it.
LCC Reads 2017: Interview With Caitlin Alifirenka
I Will Always Write Back
This book chronicles a relationship that began as pen pals who found each other through a school assignment. Martin lives in a Zimbabwe slum, where he excels as a student. Martin has difficulty even obtaining enough money for stamps. Meanwhile, the money Caitlin earns from babysitting will easily pay his school fees and allow him to continue his education. The book is written in the first person with alternating chapters for each young person.
Two lives could not be more different. Caitlyn comes from an upper middle-class family and spends her free time shopping at the mall. She receives a brand new car for Christmas before she turns sixteen. She decorates her letters with special markers that stamp borders of hearts and flowers. Martin shares a one-room house in the slums with his family of eight and another family. He owns one school uniform and one t-shirt. His family shares a single bottle of Fanta for Christmas.
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Thank you! A pen-pal correspondence between an American girl and a Zimbabwean boy blossoms into a lifelong friendship. In alternating chapters, the authors relate their story, which begins in when year-old Caitlin chooses a boy in Zimbabwe for a pen-pal assignment. The top student in his class, Martin dreams of studying at an American university, but even just continuing high school in Zimbabwe seems like a long shot. Written with journalist Welch, the heartfelt recollections read like an overlong magazine article. The early chapters in particular have the inauthentic feel of sentimentalized adult reminiscence, and they accentuate the difference between an American whose eyes are open to the value of international friendship and her less-enlightened classmates. A feel-good, message-driven book that may appeal to adults more than teens.
It started as an assignment. Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only ten letters, and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one. That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives. Taken from Goodreads.