I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda, with Liz Wench
Hi, I am Sarah. I am sixteen years old and an avid reader; it is one of my favorite things to do. Inspired by all the amazing stories built by simple letters, I aspire to be an author and, meanwhile, nurture the love to write.
The world is a big place. Seven continents, one hundred and ninety-six countries, eight billion people—millions of different cultures and life experiences.
Caitlin Alifirenka‘s life experience is that of a typical American teenager. She lives in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, loves shopping on the weekends, and thinks of school as just another thing she’s got to do. Early in her seventh-grade year, however, something changes. Caitlyn’s class gets pen pals, and suddenly—through internationally traveling letters—the world gets a little smaller.
Martin Ganda, Caitlyn’s Zimbabwean pen pal, lives a life vastly different than his American friend. He shares a one-room house not only with his parents and five siblings but with another family like his. He loves school with a passion, in part because, unlike Caitlyn, it isn’t something he can ever take for granted.
Through a six-and-a-half-year pen pal correspondence, the two form an unlikely friendship that changes the course of both of their lives forever. Caitlyn’s eyes are opened to the world beyond her town, sparking compassion and a desire to learn, and eventually, a drive to help others in need. Martin finds not only a lifelong friend, but also a lifeline when poverty falls on his family and threatens to take away his education. I Will Always Write Back inspires anyone who reads it not to be afraid to look a little farther and learn a little bit more about this massive, amazing world we live in—and the people in it whom we might meet.