The true story of an all-American girl and a boy from an impoverishedcity in Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever.
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 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.
For the ELA (English Language Arts) Group that I have been working with in MG and YA readers, we are looking at I Will Always Write Back. Our focus in this group has been challenges young people and students face across different cultures and regions of the world and so far this book has been a fabulous read. We are only 5 chapters in but each has been thorough on character development and the reoccurring theme of how a small contribution can have a huge impact on someone, that we may not realize while living here in the US and experiencing the world as we do, vs someone in a different country with struggles that may be hard for students in the US to comprehend.
The exchange between these two students is actually a true story, in that back in 1997 a student named Caitlin did actually write as part of her class pen pal project to a student in Zimbabwe so we readers are able to experience this exchange and the written feelings of a 12 year old student in the US trying to connect with what her pen pal from Africa is going through,
This is a fabulous book to use in reading clubs.