It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin's class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. Read more...
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It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin's class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place.
Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and fifty 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 their long-distance exchange. Their story will inspire you to look beyond your own life and wonder about the world at large and your place in it.
- ISBN-13: 9780316241311
- ISBN-10: 0316241318
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: April 2015
- Page Count: 400
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-16
- Reviewer: Staff
In 1997, a 12-year old girl from Hatfield, Pa., and a 14-year-old boy from Mutare, Zimbabwe, began a pen-pal relationship. In alternating chapters, Alifirenka and Ganda recount how their mutual curiosity led to an increasingly honest, generous correspondence. Martin loves receiving Caitlin's photo, but when she requests one in return, "My heart went from sprinting to a standstill." He sends her the only photo his family owns. Hearing BBC accounts of Zimbabwe's political and economic turmoil alarms Caitlin, but a letter written on a popsicle wrapper shocks her: "I gasped. My friend was writing me on trash." She begins to send him her babysitting money—which Martin's family uses to buy food and to pay school fees and rent—and Caitlin's family eventually decides to sponsor Martin's education. Sensitively and candidly demonstrating how small actions can result in enormous change, this memoir of two families' transformation through the commitment and affection of long-distance friends will humble and inspire. Ages 12–up. Agent: (for Alifirenka and Ganda) Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company; (for Welch) Brettne Bloom, Kneerim, Williams & Bloom. (Apr.)