Love, Penelope
Love, Penelope
Publisher's Hardcover14.74
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Annotation: Fifth-grader Penny writes a series of letters to her future sibling, including facts about their Oakland, California, home; questions about whether their moms will ever marry; and especially, assurance of Penny's love.
Catalog Number: #158853
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Knisley, Lucy,
Pages: 265 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-419-72861-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-419-72861-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017040018
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Ten-year-old Penny writes letters in her journal to her unborn baby sister detailing the challenges she's facing at school and in her family. The daughter of two mothers in the days leading up to the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality, Penny's loving heart and compassionate nature shine brightly. Strong characterization and a subplot about Penny's school heritage project add depth to this fast-moving family story.
Publishers Weekly
Ten-year-old Penelope Bach-s journal to her yet-to-be-born baby sibling forms the basis of Rocklin-s touching novel. Penelope-s entries, each beginning -Dear You,- offer advice and reveal her own growth over nine months. A resident of Oakland, Calif., Penelope has two mothers and passionately roots for the Golden State Warriors. Peppered with basketball trivia, the storyline coincides with the Warriors-s 2015 championship run-even non-fans will be swept up in the excitement of their winning season. Penelope faces challenges, some self-made-such as when she claims Native American heritage for a school project (only her nonbiological mother is Ohlone)-and some forced on her, including the homophobia her family endures. Rocklin (Fleabrain Loves Franny) also touches on racial prejudice: Penelope, who is white, initially reacts insensitively when her best friend-s older brother, who is black, is pulled over and treated unfairly by a police officer. Rocklin-s novel deals honestly with the ways even the best friends and parents can disappoint, creating numerous genuine and moving moments. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Author-s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator-s agent: Holly Bemiss, Susan Rabiner Literary. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Penelope loves a lot of things: her best friend Gabby; the Golden State Warriors; her hometown of Oakland, CA; her favorite teacher, Mr. Chen; her two moms, Mama and Sammy; her soon-to-be-born sibling. But there are a lot of things in Penny's world that are stressing her out: the new girl, Hazel, who is changing her dynamic with Gabby; the Warriors' chances of winning the NBA Finals; whether the Supreme Court will rule on marriage equality; the lie she has told about her nonexistent Ohlone ancestry. It's overwhelming for the 10-year-old. In charming, illustrated journal entries addressed to her future sibling, Penny spills all of her fears, insecurities, and joys. There is a lot to unpack here; in addition to all the issues previously mentioned, Penny is also dealing with a crush on Gabby's older brother, an estranged grandfather, homophobic reactions to her family unit, and a classmate's incarcerated father. While it's commendable to address such topical issues, the story would have been served better without some of the underdeveloped plot threads. Additionally, Penny goes on ad nauseam about her love of Oakland, yet the story lacks a rich sense of place. However, Penny's voice is precocious and compassionate, and the way in which she reacts to the events around her rings true. Knisley's illustrations add charm and authenticity to the story; Rocklin adds back matter, including resources about the Ohlone, LGBT families, Bay Area history, and the stages of pregnancy. VERDICT Not entirely successful but recommended for its strong and positive portrayal of a blended family, and an easy-buy for Bay Area libraries. Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* For many Americans, June 2015 was a momentous month in history, but that's especially true for 10-year-old Penelope, an avid fan of her home team, the Golden State Warriors, and daughter of two moms. (Spoiler alert: gay marriage is legalized, and the Warriors win it all.) In letters to her still-unnamed, soon-to-be-born sister, You, Penny chronicles the ups and downs of nine months in her own life leading up to her sister's birth. One source of particular anguish is Penny's year-long school project, Your Family's History in California. Since Penny's birth father is deceased, and her mom is an orphan, Penny claims her adoptive mother Sammy's Ohlone ancestry as her own. But what will her teacher, Mr. Chen, say when he discovers her entire project is a fabrication? Penny's letters are brimming with discoveries large and small: evolving friendships, tiny crushes, the love and loss of an urban goat, the Ohlone fight to protect their burial sites, Oakland's secret stairwells, racism, Cesar Chavez, and even long-lost family members. Knisley's illustrations make the impending arrival of Penny's little sister even more palpable and complement the lively text. Rocklin captures a lesser-seen slice of contemporary American urban life: how the more troubling parts of our world trickle down to and effect upper-elementary students as they encounter prejudice in its many forms. Penny's optimism and resolve is a joyous testament to our complicated world.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (1/1/18)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (2/1/18)
Word Count: 41,545
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 502226 / grade: Middle Grades
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

Penny is excited to welcome her new sibling, so throughout her mom's pregnancy she writes letters to it (not it , YOU ). She introduces herself (Penelope, but she prefers "Penny") and their moms (Sammy and Becky). She brags about their home city, Oakland, California (the weather, the Bay, and the Golden State Warriors) and shares the trials and tribulations of being a fifth-grader (which, luckily, YOU won't have to worry about for a long time). Penny asks little questions about her sibling's development and starts to ask big questions about the world around her (like if and when her moms are ever going to get married "for real"). Honest, relatable, and full of heart, Love, Penelope explores heritage, forgiveness, love, and identity through the eyes (and pen) of one memorable 10-year-old in a special year when marriage equality and an NBA championship made California a place of celebration.

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