Methacton One Book One School


    Methacton High School is excited to announce its second annual One Book, One School program. The selection for the 2018-19 school year is I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda (with Liz Welch). Two unlikely pen pals change each other’s lives in this nonfiction book about hope and the power of friendship. Caitlin and Martin’s dual pen-pal autobiography spans the six years of their friendship between Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and Zimbabwe. The story, told in first person with chapters alternating between Caitlin and Martin's points of view, unfolds as the two “forge a life-altering friendship despite significant cultural, economic, and geographical differences.”
    The goal of the program is to promote a common culture of reading among MHS students and staff and to develop a sense of school unity through literature. All students will read I Will Always Write Back as a Summer Reading selection. In addition, we encourage all members of our school community -- administrators, families, teachers, students, support staff, etc. -- to read the book as well.
    At the start of the 2018-19 school year we will have activities promoting the book. Additionally, students will have the chance to examine the issues and ideas raised in the book in many of their classes across content areas through lessons centered on the text. It is our hope that this project will spark students' enthusiasm for reading and will lead them to explore their varied interests through literature.

    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. (

  • Editorial Reviews

    An Amazon Big Spring Book Selection 2015

    New York Times Sunday Book Review

    * "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."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "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

    "This compelling story of an unlikely friendship across continents will quiet your inner skeptic and inspire you to take a chance. Moving and uplifting."

    Award-winning author and journalist Peter Godwin

    "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