Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm
It's summer 1953 in New Jersey and Penny is dreaming of the things she most likes to do, namely eat ice cream, go to baseball games and swim. Her thoughts sadden as she realizes that she can't go swimming because her mother thinks she will catch polio at the pool.
Her favorite uncle is a hermit and lives in his car. No one really says much about her uncle living in his car. He is there for Penny when she needs him - most of the time.
Penny lives with her mother, her gandma Me-me, who is a very bad cook and grandpa Pop -pop. Penny's father died when she was very young. She thinks of him ofen and wonders why no one really talks about him. If they do talk about him they begin to cry. Her mom used to be a nurse but won't work as one. Her father's side of the family doesn't like to talk to her mother's side of the family. There are so many mysteries in Penny's life.
Penny has a friend Frankie who gets them both into trouble. Frankieis always looking for the easy way, or the fast way to do things. For instance, when Penny is told to do the laundry, Frankie offers to help. When they get ready to start, Penny is the one who is doing the work while Frankie is looking in the basement for a treasure (money) that he believes Penny's uncle hid. Penny gets her arem stuck (all the way up to the armpit) in the wringer of the washer and screams for help. Frankie runs for help and gets Uncle Dominic.
Penny ends up in the hospital is told that she may not get the use of her arm back. There's Frankie again cracking jokes at Penny's expense.
This is a good story with many stange personalities. Will Penny get the full use of her arm back? What really happened to her father? She heard that he was a spy, is that really what he did? What will happen to Penny's mom with all this heartache?
This book has many interesting characters and many personal stories to tell.