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I Will Always Write Back

I Will Always Write BackI Will Always Write Back

How One Letter Changed Two Lives

By Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Personal Development: Character Development, Personal Development: Friendship, Personal Development: Diversity, Social Studies: Europe/Asia/Africa, Personal Development: Responsibility

Grade: 7 & up


Listen to interview with authors Educator Guide


It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s 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 writer 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.



★ “Sensitively and candidly demonstrating how small actions can result in enormous change, this memoir of two families’ transformation through the commitment and affection of long-distance friends will humble and inspire.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


This is a well-written, accessible story that will open Western adolescents’ eyes to life in developing countries. Told in the first person, with chapters alternating between Caitlin’s and Martin’s points of view, this title effectively conveys both of these young people’s perspectives… A strong and inspiring story.” — School Library Journal