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.
Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following is a list of concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.
Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.
“How does Penelope feel after she has finally been honest about her “fabrication?” Why do you think that is?”
“What is your ancestral heritage? What are the traditions or ceremonies in your family related to your family history?”
Why did you choose to write the novel in journal form?
I love writing in first person for the middle grades, and have done it in diary/letter form before. It is an age of increased introspection, an intense pondering of identity, and a growing desire to examine one’s place in the world, which the form allows. There are also many opportunities for humor (both conscious and unconscious) as my narrator expresses observations that are innocent, open, and sometimes erroneous.
“Rocklin captures a lesser-seen slice of contemporary American urban life: how the more troubling parts of our world trickle down to and affect upper elementary students as they encounter prejudice in its many forms. Penny’s optimism and resolve is a joyous testament to our complicated world.”
“Rocklin’s novel deals honestly with the ways even the best friends and parents can disappoint, creating numerous genuine and moving moments.”