Penny from Heaven

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Curriculet Details
46 Questions
53 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring figurative language and citing evidence, as well as annotations describing character relationships and comparisons. Annotations also help students visualize some of the historic points mentioned in the story. Students will explore the themes of family and forgiveness. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Jennifer Holm is an award-winning novelist of many books for children and young adults. (This annotation contains an image)
Penny is named for the song "Pennies from Heaven." Listen below to the song being sung by Bing Crosby.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why is the main character called Penny and not what is on her birth certificate? 


Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Why is the gift Uncle Dominic gave Penny significant? 
This means that Pop-pop fought in World War I. 
What does the highlighted detail tell you about Penny's mother? 
Polio was a dangerous disease during 1953 when this novel is set. Children were especially vulnerable, but now there is a vaccine that protects against it. 
Why is Penny's mother unsure about letting her have a summer job? 


A butcher shop is a place where people can go to buy their meats.  (This annotation contains an image)
Penny likes Uncle Dominic, but there is a lot about him that she doesn't know. Why? 
Frankie may not be using words, but you can tell he is angry that Ann Marie is being hit. He is also protective of Penny. 
Why did the author, Jennifer Holm, say that Mrs. Wiederhorn is forgetful? 


This expression is an idiom, which is a popular saying that's literal meaning is different from it's figurative one. Pop-pop is saying any grown man should be able to fix a toilet. 
Why does Penny drink milk if she does not like it? 
What do you learn about Me-me in this section? 
The girl below was "burned with a perm." Imagine Penny with hair like this, but with a section cut out to remove the painted part. Poor Penny! (This annotation contains an image)
"Hot as an oven" is an example of a simile. Watch this video to learn about similes and metaphors.  (This annotation contains a video)


This is the first time you are learning about the other half of Penny's family, her father's side. Pay attention to the similarities and differences between the two families. 
Which of the following is different about Penny's two families? 
Sometimes you will be asked to cite evidence when answering a question. The video below will explain how to do this.  (This annotation contains a video)
Use the Define feature and read the definition for valiant. Which of the following words is an synonym of valiant as it is used here? 


Why is this paragraph important to the story? 
Joe DiMaggio was an Italian New York Yankees baseball player. He is best known for 56-game hitting streak, a record that still stands. (This annotation contains an image)
Compare and contrast Penny's two families. Use examples from the story to support your answer.  
Below is a picture of a clothing factory in the 1950s. (This annotation contains an image)
"That arm of yours is like a cannon" is an example of which form of figurative language? 
Penny has many family members who could help her in this situation. She chooses to immediately to call Uncle Dominic, which shows how strong her relationship is to him. 


What can you infer from the highlighted sentences? 
Penny's mother is overprotective, as we have already seen, but burns can be very serious. 
This book keeps referring to wars and different events that happened in the past. The genre of Penny from Heaven is historical fiction. This video will give you more information about this genre.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Penny relate to Pop-pop's translator friend? 
"The three monkeys" is a reference to the proverb associating with being in good mind, action, and speech. (This annotation contains an image)
Section 1 Quiz 


This story shows Nonny's protective nature, especially towards her family. 
A bulldog is a breed known for strength and tenacity. What kind of expression must Frankie have been wearing to be described as a bulldog? 
Women during this time period usually wore dresses with stockings daily. 
You learn more about Penny and Nonny's relationship during this bedroom scene.  


Why is this conversation between Penny and her mother important? 
It is not normal for an older dog to have so many accidents in a house. Scarlett O'Hara must be sick. 
How is this conversation between Penny and her mother different from any other conversation they have had? 
Uncle Dominic and Penny relate many experiences to baseball since baseball is a passion for both of them. 
Chapter Nine is titled Slider. How are Penny and her mother both thrown "sliders" in this chapter? 


"The Water boy" is just as it sounds. Penny's grandfather's job was to get water for the construction workers. 
What does the expression "looking for a needle in a haystack" mean? 
The Radio City Rockettes are a famous dance group that was started in 1925. Watch the quick clip of the 1950s Rockettes below. (This annotation contains a video)
How would you describe Frankie and Penny's relationship? 
Many families bury their deceased pets in their yards. Often these graves are marked with a stone or some other kind of remembrance. 


How is Penny's Mom acting differently? 
J. Edgar Hoover was the first director of the FBI. The term "g-men" stood for government men, which we would call FBI agents today. 
What insults did Veronica say to Penny? 
Do you think Penny's Mom is more upset about Penny getting hit or about Penny having a black eye for dinner? 
Even though the peas and onions are disgusting, Pat is still polite through the whole dinner. 
Who seems the most supportive of Ellie and Pat's relationship at dinner? 


It is interesting to note that Pop-pop still tries to "talk" to Mickey and Me-me says he cannot get over him. However when Penny tries to discuss her father they will not talk to her about him. 
Why does the funeral dress not quite fit Penny? 
When you "pay your respects" at a funeral it means to view the body. This is a time when you can think about the deceased and console the family as well. 
Why did Frankie not heed Penny's warning? 
Uncle Dominic's advice is said to Benny, but all of the characters in the car could use those words of wisdom. 


Do you think the ruby necklace was a good gift? Why or why not? 
If you read a book you have a chance of damaging its spine. This is what Frankie meant by "hurting it." 
What does Penny mean when she says, "I have everything I want"? 
You can see on the map below how close New Jersey is to New York City. (This annotation contains an image)
Uncle Dominic said that he got the tickets from a friend. What do the seats say about Uncle Dominic? 


Dr. Brogan is telling Penny that Scarlett is dying. 
While the police may not send Frankie to jail, what crimes did he commit? 
No one is meeting Penny's eyes. Do you think it is because they are keeping something from her? 
Listen to the lyrics of the song "Smile" sung by Nat King Cole below then answer the next question. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the Nat King Cole song relate to Penny right now? Use examples from the text in your answer. 
Section 2 Quiz 


"Sticks in my craw" is an idiom. It is when someone's behavior annoys you because you think it is wrong. 
Frankie says, "Me-me's a softy." This means that she is ____________. 
Which of the following words is an antonym for reluctantly? 
Me-me is showing she is a softy by allowing Penny to go to the beach. 


Below is a picture of the wringer that Penny was using to do laundry.  (This annotation contains an image)
How did Penny's arm get caught in the wringer? 
Penny wants the doctor to tell her everything that is going on, but Penny's mother does not want to hear about the extent of the injuries. Who do you agree with here? 
Penny, not her mother, questions the doctor to get the whole story about her arm. What character trait does this show in Penny? 


"The Lone Ranger" radio show included the same characters you may know from the Disney movie "The Lone Ranger." "The Shadow" was one of the most popular radio shows in history. Click the link below to learn more about it. (This annotation contains a link)
Choose the sentence below that uses grave in the same way that Penny uses it. 
Even though Penny is in the hospital, she is still seeing all of the family that she loves. She looks forward to all of her visitors as they help pass the time. 
Why is Penny getting surgery? 


An iron lung, as seen in the picture below, was used with polio patients whose lungs were paralyzed. The lung helps them with their breathing.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why would the nurses put a dying girl next to Penny? 
Penny finally breaks down with Nonny. This shows the closeness of Nonny and Penny's relationship. 


Penny refers to a bomb being dropped. What was the "bomb"? 
Shortwave radios can be used to communicate with people over long distances. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Americans became leery of anyone who was not an American citizen. They feared that spies could communicate with other governments using shortwave radios.  
Internment camps were places they put large groups of people who were thought to be a threat to America's security. Mostly these camps were used for Japanese Americans during World War II. 
What has Penny learned about her past? Cite evidence from the story to support your answer. 


Mr. Mulligan must really like Penny. Painting her room was a very kind and time-consuming job for him. 
What does Penny mean when she said, "It's the living that's hard?" 
Scarlett O'Hara, the namesake for Penny's deceased dog, was the love interest of Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind." 
What is Penny's first miracle? 
This loss came in 1953. The Brooklyn Dodgers would finally win a World Series in 1955 by beating the New York Yankees. 
Uncle Dominic knows that Penny is lying. Why would she lie to him? 
Marlin are very large sport fish found off the coast of Florida. They can weigh up to 1,000 pounds! (This annotation contains an image)


When would Penny say that her relationship with Mr. Mulligan changed for the better? 
This paragraph illustrates how the two families disagreed when Penny's father was still alive. His death made the differences even greater and the arguments bigger. 
Why did Uncle Dominic give Ellie two lamb eyes? 


Norman Rockwell was an American painter. He is famous for reflecting an idealized picture of American culture. (This annotation contains an image)
Think about the setting and characters in the Norman Rockwell painting. How do you think that this picture could illustrate Penny's family? 
Section 3 Quiz