Penny from Heaven Study Guide

Penny from Heaven

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm

Penny from Heaven is a story of eleven-year-old-girl named Barbara "Penny" Falucci. She believes that people call her Penny because her father, Alfred Falucci, loved the Bing Crosby song“Pennies from Heaven." After her father’s death, Penny lives with her mother, Ellie, and grandparents, Me-Me and Pop-Pop. Even though she has her old dog Scarlett O’Hara to play with, Penny loves to spend time with her father’s Italian family.

Her father was the oldest son of her grandmother Nonny, and the only one of her six children who was born in Italy. Penny does not know why both sides of her family are distant.and why nobody tells her father’s real death cause. Penny’s best friend is her cousin, Frankie, who is a known troublemaker. Once, he persuaded Penny to lie to her grandparents and go to the public pool against her strict mother's wishes. She does not allow her to do anything that Penny considers as "fun." It was a surprise when her mother allowed Penny to work in her Uncle Ralphie's meat store. Her favorite uncle, Dominic, works there as well. Though he is her favorite uncle, she sometimes wishes that he would be less eccentric. Many years ago, only Dominic supported Penny’s parents' marriage while the rest of his family wanted him marry an Italian girl. Her uncle and her mom used to be good friends. Penny wants him to marry her mother and become her new father. She gets very disappointed when she finds out her mother dating the milkman, Mr. Mulligan. Penny decide to break her mother's relationship with Mr. Mulligan and acts rude during a dinner party that Penny's mother invites him over to. She asks Mr. Mulligan uncomfortable questions and compares him with her father. She wants him to date her mother while he says that this is impossible.

One of her uncles tells Penny and Frankie that their grandfather Falucci hid money in their backyard but died before he could tell anyone his secret. They decided to find grandfather’s heritage and searched all over the backyard. After it was unsuccessful , they want to search money in the basement. They waited for all adults to leave and pretended doing a laundry. Frankie found money and was so excited. Penny was distracted and her right arm has been pulled through the wringer all the way up to her armpit and its stuck, while the wringer is still going down.Penny woke up in the hospital where during her dream she heard her mother accusing her uncle Dominic in her father’s death. After a several weeks in the hospital, Penny still was not able to move her right arm fingers. Her mother used to work in that hospital before and knew all doctors there. One of the doctors said that Penny’s chances to remain disabled are high.

Penny woke up at night and she heard two nurses talking about her mother. They said her father was an Italian spy and was killed by the United States of America government. When she asked her mom about that she starts crying. Her aunt decided to tell her the truth. When Penny was a baby, her uncle Dominic bought her father a brand-new radio. He didn't know Italians were not allowed to have this kind of radio. After Pearl Harbor country went crazy and all non-citizens were considered as spies. Unfortunately, her father was born in Italy and was a not U.S citizen. He got sick in the jail and died. In the last letter he wrote :” Baby is just like a lost penny, I’ll never hold again”. This was a real reason why everyone called her Penny. She realized why her mom said Dominic killed her husband. It was him who bought that radio. She wanted to see him and say that it was not his fault, but he never showed up to visit her in the hospital. All she had left is her lucky bean from him.

The girl who lived with Penny in the same room asked to see her lucky bean.Penny wants to reach it but loses balance and lucky bean slides off from the table. Penny doesnt want to drop it and catches it with her fingers. She moves her fingers and believes it was a mystery of her lucky bean.

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