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I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives Paperback – May 3, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—The true story of two young pen pals who forge a life-altering connection. In 1997, Caitlin, a typical 12-year-old girl from a middle class American family, began writing to Martin, a studious 14-year-old from a Zimbabwe slum. In her letters, Caitlin described her life, which consisted of shopping trips, quarrels with friends, and problems at school. Martin was initially far more circumspect in his responses. Inflation had rocketed in Zimbabwe, and even finding money for postage was a struggle for the boy. Staying in school, which required paying costly fees, became merely a dream. Eventually, Martin revealed the harsh realities of his life to Caitlin, who began sending money and gifts. What started as chatty letters turned into a lifeline for Martin and his family, as Caitlin and her parents helped the boy stay in school and achieve his goal of studying at an American university. 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. Caitlin's early chapters, however, in which she discusses friendship and boyfriend woes, feel somewhat superficial compared with Martin's genuinely troubled life. While these chapters provide an effective contrast between the two teens' lives, they may discourage some readers from continuing with what becomes a strong and inspiring story. VERDICT A useful addition to most collections and an eye-opening look at life in another culture.—Michelle Anderson, Tauranga City Libraries, New Zealand --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"The remarkable tenacity of these two souls pulled like magnets across the world by their opposite polarities - one committed to helping, the other to surviving - is deeply affecting...It's quite a little miracle of unexpected genuineness."―New York Times Book Review
"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...and an eye-opening look at life in another culture."―SLJ
"An inspirational story...eye-opening."―The Bulletin
"This heart-warming memoir will inspire readers to open their eyes to other cultures and realize that even the smallest of gestures can be important."―School Library Connection
"Caitlin and Martin seemed to have nothing in common--except a curiosity about the world outside their own and a willingness to reach out to each other. With a lot of postage and a lot more hope, these two pen pals changed each other's lives and the lives of everyone who knew them. An inspiring story that will change your life, too."―Patricia McCormick, author of the National Book Award finalist Sold
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