Inspired by Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm's own Italian American family, Penny from Heaven is a shining story about the everyday and the extraordinary, about a time in America's history, not all that long ago, when being Italian meant that you were the enemy. But most of all, it's a story about families: about the things that tear them apart and bring them together. And Holm tells it with all the richness and the layers, the love and the laughter of a Sunday dinner at Nonny's. So pull up a chair and enjoy the feast! Buon appetito!
©2006 Jennifer L. Holm; (P)2006 Random House Inc.
"This languidly paced novel will appeal most to readers who appreciate gentle, episodic tales with a nostalgic flavor." (Booklist)
This is very different from the books I usually read, and that's what I wanted. A gentle, summertime book to let my mind rest while on vacation. The author takes us back to the 1950s and invites you into the life of Penny, a young teenager with two very different families: her mother and her white-bread grandparents with whom she lives, and her late father's big extended, Italian family. The events of the book take place over the summer when Penny's eyes are opened to many things. There is nothing that would offend anyone in this book (it's probably a youth novel), but it's also not a page-turner. Very much like the books I read as a girl in the 1960s. The narrator does a good job with most of the characters, with the exception of the young boy cousin and Penny's grandfather, which I found slightly irritating.
I tend to like my audio-books to be longer so there is more in-depth detail and development but this was an enjoyable book with characters that are likable and easy to picture. I can only imagine how good it would have been with a few hundred more pages to dig into. It's not an over complicated story and even a bit simple but it's sweet and will make you smile often if not a true LOL.
Jennifer Holm is an excellent author of childrens literature and the characters and story in this book are charming and believable. I enjoyed the story and the narrator and know my elementary students (and teachers) will enjoy this as well.
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