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It started with a simple postcard. When Caitlin Stoicsitz and Martin Ganda were selected to be each other’s pen pal in a school project, their first correspondence was a postcard. Neither of them knew this experience would influence their life in a profound way.
Caitlin was a typical American teenager girl. She was friendly and caring, with plenty of friends and a supportive family. Living in a middle-class family, she did not have any financial concerns.
Martin was the top student at his school in Zimbabwe, Africa. His family had to struggle every day to feed the many mouths with limited money and resources. They lived in a shack where water leaked on rainy days. The tough life taught Martin that if he wanted to change his living conditions, he had to work hard.
In spite of their distance and differences in identity, their relationship blossomed into a beautiful friendship. The first letter, a simple introduction, sparked their interest in knowing more about each other. Throughout the journey of their relationship, many obstacles stood in the path. With the help of friends and family, they both expand their perspective on life. The bond they formed at a young age continued to their adulthood.
The book I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives is based on the true story of the friendship between Caitlin and Martin. This inspiring story explains that people with different backgrounds can connect when they are willing to communicate for understanding and support.
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda, Caitlin Alifirenka, Liz Welch, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 3, 2016), 416 pp.
Age Range: 12-17
Grade Level: 6-11