Title: Penny From Heaven
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Newbery Honor
Date Finished: 1 March 2008
My Rating: 4 Stars
Newbery Honor Book 2007
In the early 1950s, Penny is living with her widowed mom and maternal grandparents in New Jersey. Her father's large Italian family is close by and Penny spends a lot of time with them. There is a huge contrast between the two families, her mom's family is kinda boring and overprotective while her father's family is a loud and boisterous Italian family, but neither side will talk to Penny about her father.
You know there is a story there about Penny's father but there is not much build-up. No clues or teasing bits of information are given out to make you wonder what happened but since nobody will talk about him, you know something must have happened. There just was not much build up to the climax of the story and then once Penny does hear the story she accepts it and everything else that had been bothering her that summer and moves on like nothing happened. I thought the story, maybe, could have been fleshed out little bit more.
It was an enjoyable read and I especially like Penny's voice as the narrator. She captured the time period in her tone and language very well. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, especially all the Italian Aunts and Uncles, but most of them were vividly drawn and so stood out from each other.
Holm brought out a piece of history that we don't hear much about. There seems to be so much written about the Japanese internment camps but never much about the Italian internment camps. The author's note and pictures at the end were informative and fun to look at.