The 8th Grade's First Year Reading IWAWB

Did you enjoy the 8th grade class memoir, I Will Always Write Back written by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch? Hopefully you did, because sometime in December, the 8th grade will be meeting the real Caitlin on a video conference! This is so exciting because the entire 8th grade will be able to ask her any questions they might have. I am definitely looking forward to this! In the meantime, let’s reflect on our personal experience with reading the book! What was your favorite part about the book?

I really liked how the story showed the character developments of both Caitlin and Martin. They both really changed as people, but Caitlin had the most noticeable change in her character. At the beginning of the novel, she didn’t care about school and only cared about which boys she liked and what kind of drama was going on in her friend group, but when she started writing to Martin, she changed. She started to care more about school and her future but the most important thing that changed about her was that she became more aware of how life is different for people who live in other parts of the world. She began to understand that life for Martin in Zimbabwe was very difficult due to the lack of money since where he lived was a terribly poor area. When Caitlin realized this, she knew that she had to help. She started to send him money to help with his school fees and she even sent a few care packages for him and his whole entire family! As you can see, my favorite part about the book was that it clearly showed the development of both Caitlin and Martin’s characters.

8th grader and member of the newspaper club, Sophia Gaglione was interviewed about her experience reading the novel. She really enjoyed the book and she is looking forward to meeting Caitlin in December. This was the 8th grade’s first year reading the book and she is happy it was chosen for our class novel. Sophia believes that the book is very inspirational. Here’s what she had to say, “The story of I Will Always Write Back is a really inspirational story and it inspires me to make better friendships.” Thanks for your input!

Overall, this book shows how two people from different countries can become best friends. Caitlin and Martin started off as pen pals who didn’t know anything about each other but then they turned into best friends who could tell each other everything and they eventually met each other. One of the themes presented in this book was the theme of true friendship because what Martin and Caitlin have is a strong example of true friendship. There was never drama between them and they felt like they could trust each other and tell each other everything without the fear of getting made fun of. It’s amazing how they never stopped writing to each other when everyone else in her class stopped communicating with their own pen pal. This shows that Martin and Caitlin really cared about each other and they wanted to stay close friends. As you can see, this memoir is a very heartwarming story and it symbolizes the aspect of true friendship. I’m so glad this story was chosen for the 8th grade to read!

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