It started with a pen pal assignment when Caitlin was 12 years old, living in Pennsylvania. She had to pick a country, and unlike her classmates, she decided to pick a country she knew nothing about – Zimbabwe. Her letter went to 14-year-old Martin, because he was the top student in his class in Mutare, Zimbabwe. And so began a letter-writing relationship that lasted many years. Caitlin was from an American family that never had to do without education or food. Martin’s family on the other hand, didn’t always have the money it took to send him to school. Food was scarce and the Ganda’s home was just the opposite of Caitlin’s. When Martin finally shares the struggles of his family, explaining he has to wait until he earns money for a postage stamp before he can send a letter, Caitlin’s family jumps into motion providing money for food, rent and Martin’s education. Chapters alternate between the two teens’ perspectives, but the bond that forms between the two families is genuine and provides life-changing opportunities for a teen from Zimbabwe.
Sachiko Yasui was six years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on her city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. It wasn’t until 50 years later that she could begin to share the “unspeakable seconds” of the bombing, the struggle to survive, the deaths of her siblings from radiation sickness, her own thyroid cancer and her survivor’s guilt. Complete with plenty of photos and historical information, anyone with an interest in WWII will find this a fascinating memoir.
The Plot to Kill Hitler – Patricia McCormick – Nonfiction
The Gestapo would be arriving at any minute. Young German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer had everything in order – papers hidden, but leaving a few notes on his desk for Hitler’s men to see. The men arrived as expected, Bonhoeffer calmly said good-by to his parents and followed the men down the stairs, leaving behind evidence in his own handwriting that he was indeed part of a conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler. It was April 5, 1943 and Dietrich would never return home. In fact, it was discovered that Bonhoeffer was the first person to provide evidence to the Allies that Jews were being sent to concentration camps and executed. What makes a person stand up for what’s right when no one else will join you in your stand? This page-turning true story reads like a spy novel. As I visited a concentration camp memorial in Germany this summer, I thought about Bonhoeffer and wondered if I would have the courage to put my life on the line for what was right like he did.