Full of Beans
Winner of the Scott O'Dell Award
Five Starred Reviews!
A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, 2016

Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.

Return to the wonderful world of Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise through the eyes of Turtle’s cousin Beans!

"A surprising coming-of-age story with a remarkably honest message." —The New York Times

"[Holm] captures this colorful slice of Depression history with her usual vivacious wit. . . . Children will love Beans." —Shelf Awareness, Starred

"A novel as entertaining as the motion pictures [Beans] loves to see."—The Horn Book Magazine, Starred

Turtle in Paradise

In Jennifer L. Holm's New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor winning middle grade historical fiction novel, life isn't like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple

She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she's never met. Florida's like nothing Turtle's ever seen before though. It's hot and strange, full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she's spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls with love.

Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met.

Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure. Before she knows what's happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she has spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.
  • 2011 Newbery Honor Book
  • An ALA Notable Book
  • Booklist Editor's Choice
  • Chicago Library Best of the Best
  • Texas Bluebonnet List
  • A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of 2010
  • Spring 2010 Junior Library Guild Selection
  • New York Times Bestseller
  • Starred reviews in
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Kirkus Reviews
  • Booklist
"Sweet, funny and superb"
- Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Turtle is just the right mixture of knowingness and hope; the plot is a hilarious blend of family dramas seasoned with a dollop of adventure."
- Booklist, Starred Review

And be sure to check out this walking tour of Key West featuring  Turtle's favorite spots!

Click here:

Penny from Heaven

It's 1953 and 11-year-old Penny dreams of a summer of butter pecan ice cream, swimming, and baseball. But nothing's that easy in Penny's family. For starters, she can't go swimming because her mother's afraid she'll catch polio at the pool. To make matters worse, her favorite uncle is living in a car. Her Nonny cries every time her father's name is mentioned. And the two sides of her family aren't speaking to each other!

Inspired by Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm's own Italian American family, Penny from Heaven is a shining story about the everyday and the extraordinary, about a time in America's history, not all that long ago, when being Italian meant that you were the enemy. But most of all, it's a story about families about the things that tear them apart and bring them together. And Holm tells it with all the richness and the layers, the love and the laughter of a Sunday dinner at Nonny's. So pull up a chair and enjoy the feast! Buon appetito!

    •    2007 Newbery Honor Book
    •    New York Times Bestseller
    •    ALA Notable Children's Book
    •    Order Sons of Italy in America Summer Bookclub Selection
    •    2006 New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list

"Newbery Honor author Holm conjures a nostalgic 1953 New Jersey summer in this novel with a plucky 11-year-old narrator at its center."
- Publishers Weekly

"Penny and her world are clearly drawn and eminently believable, made up of seamlessly interwoven details from everyday life."
- School Library Journal

"Holm impressively wraps pathos with comedy in this coming-of-age story, populated by a cast of vivid characters."
- Booklist

"Penny's present-tense narration is both earthy and observant, and her commentary on her families' eccentricities sparkles."
- Kirkus Reviews

"Although the book is meant for children ages eight to 12, the story is enjoyable for all."
- The National Italian American Foundation News Monthly

Penny From Heaven featured in Recommended Readings by The Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America

The May Amelia series

Our Only May Amelia

It isn't easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899, but it's particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement. With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can't seem to abide her family's insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. Not when there's fishing to be done, sheep to be herded, and real live murderers to be captured! May is sure she could manage better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama's going to have a baby, maybe there's hope...

    •    2000 Newbery Honor Book
    •    Publishers Weekly "Flying Starts" Author
    •    ALA Notable Children's Book
    •    Parents' Choice Silver Honor
    •    Publishers Weekly Best Book
    •    Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
    •    00-01 Utah Book Award (Gr. 3-6)
    •    00-01 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Bk Award Masterlist

"An unforgettable heroine narrates Holm's extraordinary debut novel set in Washington State in 1899."
-Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

The Trouble with May Amelia
May Amelia Jackson captured readers' hearts in the Newbery Honor Book Our Only May Amelia. Now, after over ten years, Jennifer Holm is bringing this beloved character back in a beautiful way. The Trouble with May Amelia is a gorgeously written story that's as heartbreaking as it is funny.

May Amelia lives in pioneer Washingon State in 1900, and she just can't act the part of a proper young lady. Working a farm on the rainy Nasel River isn't easy - especially when you have seven brothers and a Pappa who proclaims that Girls Are Useless. May Amelia thinks she may have finally earned her father's respect when he asks her to translate for a gentleman who's interested in buying their land and making them rich. But when the deal turns out to be a scam, Pappa places all the blame on May. It's going to take a lot of sisu - that's Finnish for guts - to make things right.

    •    A Junior Library Guild Selection
    •    A Children's Book-of-the-Month Club Featured Selection
    •    Parents' Choice Award Silver Medal

"Anyone interested in learning to write crowd-pleasing historical fiction for elementary school readers would be wise to study Holm's work. Since Our Only May Amelia (HarperCollins, 1999), Holm has collected three Newbery Honors, and this sequel demonstrates her mastery of writing a complete, exciting story in a trim novel. "
 - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Holm incorporates warmth, humor, excitement and even a wedding into her story. . . . Narrating events in dryly witty, plainspoken first-person, this indomitable teen draws readers in with her account, through which her world comes alive. Readers who enjoyed the first novel should embrace May Amelia again and may well believe that the only "trouble" with her is that the sequel didn't happen sooner."
- Kirkus Reviews

The Boston Jane Trilogy

#1 Boston Jane: An Adventure
Sixteen-year-old Jane Peck has ventured to the unknown wilds of the Northwest to wed her childhood idol, William Baldt. But her impeccable training at Miss Hepplewhite's Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia is hardly preparation for the colorful characters and crude life that await her in Washington Territory. Thrown upon her wits in the wild, Jane must determine for herself whether she is truly proper Miss Jane Peck of Philadelphia, faultless young lady and fiance, or Boston Jane, as the Chinook dub her, fearless and loyal woman of the frontier.

    •    Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award
    •    ALA Best Book for Young Adults
    •    Book Sense 76 Pick

"As a storyteller, Holm is superb."
- School Library Journal

"Strong characterizations, meticulous attention to historical details, and perceptive understanding of human nature make this a first-rate story not to be missed."
- ALA Booklist (starred review)

"The fascinating details and humor herein are sure to hit home with fans of historical fiction."
- Washington Parent

"An outspoken, self-reliant young woman readers will long remember."
- Publishers Weekly

#2 Boston Jane: Wilderness Days

Abandoned on the frontier by her faithless fiance, Jane Peck prepares to head home, only to learn that the Philadelphia life she once knew is no more. But can a proper young lady find happiness as the only woman in a primitive pioneer settlement? Armed with only a finishing-school education and her natural determination, Jane must endure life with her flea-bitten landlord, a perilous manhunt, and the traps and hazards of a blossoming romance. Will Jane survive the challenges of the wild, uncharted frontiers of friendship, love, and the Washington Territory?

#3 Boston Jane: The Claim

With a mind of her own and a handsome suitor who loves her for it, seventeen-year-old Jane Peck is the darling of the Washington Territory. She's outwitted wild animals, vengeful ghosts, and a disloyal fiance, but when her finishing school nemesis Sally Biddle invades Shoalwater Bay, Jane discovers that the most dangerous thing on the frontier may be an impeccably dressed debutante. As the Biddles of Philadelphia charm their way into Jane's close-knit community, she finds everything she holds dear threatened -- including her true love, a rakish sailor named Jehu. Will Jane's claim on happiness slip away?

The Creek -- now back in print as an e-book!

The Creek

Caleb Devlin is a legend on Mockingbird Lane, the boy who terrorized an entire town before he got sent away. They say he hurt other kids, tortured animals, set fires, and did things grown-ups speak of only in whispers. But that was all before Penny and her little brother moved here. Now Caleb's back, older and more dangerous than ever, and terrible things have started happening again. The whole town knows he's responsible, but the police can't do anything without proof. So Penny and her friends have no choice but to try to stop him themselves. Except now he's after them.

A sleepy summer is filled with dread in this tense and absorbing thriller by acclaimed Newbery Honor author Jennifer L. Holm.

"Chock-full of creepy moments, genuine tragedy, and sinister secrets. It's a good thing the plot moves quickly, because this one is hard to put down."
- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"On target, ratcheting up the tension with leisurely precision - sure to find a ready audience."
- Kirkus Reviews

"For middle schoolers hungry for horror fiction written on their level. Better crafted than the R.L. Stein classics. Sure to be popular."
- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)