Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grades 3 - 6n/a5.682879
The true story of an all-American girl and a boy from 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.

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.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published on May 3, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316241334
ISBN-13: 9780316241335
32 Book Reviews
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  • bookworm 15Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 9:55 am
    this book changed my world. It taught me to look at the world a different way.
    • vavazaza
      vavazazaSaturday, December 30, 2017 at 8:01 am55 stars
      My friend told me about it and now I want to get the book
      • lrohne24
        lrohne24Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm55 stars
        For a class project, Caitlin has to choose a country to have a pen pal in. There are a lot of choices, but Caitlin decides to pick Zimbabwe, a country in Africa, to send her letter to. She has no idea that by picking Zimbabwe, her life is changed forever. Martin is living in Zimbabwe when he gets a letter all the way from America. He decides as soon as he reads that letter that he will respond no matter what. He doesn't know by that writing back to Caitlin, his life is also changed. Martin and Caitlin keep sending letters to each other, and those letters turn into much more than a class project - it turns into a huge friendship. This incredible true story is one of my favorite books. I could read it again and again. I highly recommend this book to boys and girls ages 11+.
        • strawberry1234
          strawberry1234Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 2:46 pm55 stars
          I have finished this book 10 times and i find so intresting that i don't think i will ever get bored with this book i recommend this book to anyone its my favorite book
          • mayu0327
            mayu0327Monday, October 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm
            This story is about how 2 pen pals all the way across thw world and help each other out and go through hard times together. This book is heart touching and the sacrifices Caitlin makes are unimaginable.
            • rrwwnn
              rrwwnnSunday, September 25, 2016 at 5:22 pm
              Caitlin and Martin's story is very touching, and to think that others have to deal with this makes my heart hurt. It is one of my favorite books and I give it 5 stars! 0 Reply
              • 400bella
                400bellaFriday, September 16, 2016 at 1:50 pm55 stars
                I will always write back is a book about a american girl and a indian boy who write letters to each other this book is soo good
                • peppershaker
                  peppershakerWednesday, August 31, 2016 at 4:24 pm55 stars
                  Overall, I loved this book. It would be amazing to have a friend all the way across the ocean, but still be able to communicate. I thought it was amazing that she kept his family alive and fed, just by sending him her baby-sitting money. I would definitely recommend this book for ages 11-16.
                  • llpanda
                    llpandaMonday, August 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm44 stars
                    It all started with the names of the countries on the blackboard. Zimbabwe sounded exotic and different to Caitlin. She was the only one to raise her hand and ask for a pen pal from there. Martin was in a class of fifty with only one pen pal letter from America. Good thing he was at the top of his class or else he wouldn't have had a chance to get the letter at all. Told through the letters and their personal recounts Caitlin and Martin tell a beautiful story of how one letter changed two lives forever.
                    • jb_penguin12
                      jb_penguin12Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm55 stars
                      For a project Caitlin Alifirenka was told to pick a country and send a letter to to that country. Caitlin chose Zimbabwe and the person who recieved the letter was Martin Ganda. Martin came from a poor family and barely had enough money to stay in school. Because Zimbabwean money is worth less that American money Caitlin sends Martin money and helps him stay in school because he is a very smart student. Martin then passes all his tests and is able to attend a university-like school and then gets a scholarship to a college in America.