Penelope is a fifth-grader in Oakland, California. She loves basketball and her moms, and is excited that she will soon be a big sister. Her parents give her a journal to write all of her feelings in, and she decides to use the journal to write letters to her unborn sibling.
Love, Penelope is thoughtful in its approach to heavy issues. Penelope witnesses racism when Mike, her best friend’s older brother, is pulled over and harassed by the police. She watches her friend Hazel cope with her parents’ divorce and her mom’s new, unfriendly boyfriend. She learns about the abuses toward the Native American Ohlone people and culture while studying her mother’s ancestors for a school project.
Penelope also learns that there are people who do not approve of her family. As she interacts with her friends, her family, and her teacher, she learns valuable lessons, recording each in her journal to pass on.
The book’s difficult topics are offset by the central characters’ passion for the Golden State Warriors. Set first in 2014, it covers the Warriors’ NBA championship and the Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Witnessing these events through Penelope’s eyes is fun and relatable.
Even though Penelope learns that people can be disappointing, her story is a hopeful one; she also learns that people can grow and change. Ultimately, forgiveness, acceptance, and love guide this ten-year-old girl through her year of challenges and changes.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.