review by Nina Dinan, age 15

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, with Liz Welch

    The story of how a middle school, pen pal assignment became a life-changing correspondence and friendship begins with two students, Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda. She lives in Pennsylvania, he in Zimbabwe. When Caitlin writes her first letter to Martin as an assignment, she has no idea of the impact the letter will have on both her life and Martin’s. As their correspondence develops, the two grow progressively closer in spirit. Unexpected benefits arise from the letters; for example, when Caitlin sends Martin an American dollar for fun, she has no idea it will buy two weeks’ worth of groceries for his family. Additionally, as Caitlin struggles to navigate friendship issues at school, she comes to rely on Martin as a dependable source of genuine respect and kindness. As they grow and experience greater life challenges, they go to great lengths to continue their correspondence and help each other through adversity.
    This book is enjoyable and inspiring. It highlights the power of mutual kindness, even when expressed over long distances; it is this quality that first draws Caitlin and Martin into true friendship and leads to their ability to help each other.
    I recommend this book. 4 stars.

Find this book in our catalog: I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

Catalog Number: YA 305.235 ALI

392 pages

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