I just finished reading Newbery Honor book Penny from Heaven. I remember hearing Jennifer Holm speak at a IRA conference (I think it was IRA) several years ago and remembered how much I liked her and wanted to read more of her books.
I loved this book for so many reasons. I love the voice of Penny. I love how that even though so many things have gone wrong in her life, she still has a pretty "normal" growing up experience. I love the fact that the bad stuff in her life doesn't dominate the book. We get glimpses throughout the book of her background, but only at the end do we find out how much her family has loved and protected her.
I loved this book even more after reading the author's note and finding out that it was based on real family and real events. What a fabulous way to tell your family story!
I'm working my way through the Newbery Honor books and so far, I've been thoroughly enjoying myself!