Love, Penelope

Amulet Books/Abrams ISBN #978-1-4197-2861-7 MARCH 2018

Penny writes letters to her new sibling throughout her mom’s pregnancy, tracking the baby’s growth and changes, and noting how things are changing in the outside world, too. She brags about her city, Oakland, home of the Golden State Warriors, who find themselves on a remarkable path to the 2015 NBA Finals. And the Supreme Court is ready to rule on marriage equality, a decision that affects Penny’s family.

Awarded the Golden Poppy for middle grade fiction from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association

“Rocklin captures a lesser-seen slice of contemporary American urban life: how the more troubling parts of our world trickle down to and affect upper elementary students as they encounter prejudice in its many forms. Penny’s optimism and resolve is a joyous testament to our complicated world.”

Booklist, Starred

“genuine and moving”

Publishers Weekly

A “wonderfully heartfelt novel”

The San Francisco Chronicle

Fleabrain Loves Franny

Amulet Books/ Abrams ISBN 978-1-4197-1068-1 2014

A story about a special girl, an inspiring book, and a brilliant (though unintentionally funny) flea.

A 2015 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers!

One of “The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2014”, Tablet Magazine

Bank Street College of Education’s “The Best Children’s Books of the Year,” in the Ages 9-12, Fiction category. The book also received a star for Outstanding Merit!

“Fleabrain Loves Franny is a great read! It will entertain and delight 9-12 year old girls, while empowering them to believe in themselves.”

Jewish Book World, starred, Summer 2015

“…captures the heart from page one…Heartwarming and endlessly funny, Fleabrain Loves Franny will delight readers of all ages. Rocklin’s sharp wit and exuberant writing style are refreshing. She takes the reader into 1950s America, when medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine, and readers are offered a rare glimpse of history through a young girl’s eyes, understanding her sorrows, hopes, and dreams, and reveling in her incredible imagination. This book is not to be missed.”


“Joanne Rocklin has brought into being perhaps the tiniest and most accomplished hero yet: a dashing, erudite, multilingual flea…moving and witty.”

The Wall Street Journal

“… rich depiction of 1950s Pittsburgh turns into a touching, imaginative whimsy…”

Publishers Weekly

“Comedic and philosophical, readers will find multiple levels to enjoy…Rocklin includes an author’s note reflecting on polio and the disability issues, as well as offering a helpful bibliography and discussion guide, which will lend this title to social studies curricula. Useful and fun.”

School Library Journal

“…not many books come close to it in inventiveness and ingenuity.”

The Boston Globe

The Five Lives of our Cat Zook

Amulet Books/ Abrams ISBN 978-1-4197-0192-4 / Also available as an audiobook from Listening Library

A warm and funny novel about family, love and loss, and the tales (tails!) that heal.

  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Nomination/ Vermont
  • Horned Toad Book Award Nomination/ Texas
  • Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nomination/ Florida
  • Mark Twain Reader Award Final Nominee/ Missouri
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award Master List/ Illinois
  • William Allen White Children’s Book Award Master List/ Kansas
  • Arizona Grand Canyon Intermediate Book Award List
  • Minnesota Young Readers Award Nomination

“The only imperfection in this novel is that it ends.”

BOOKLIST, starred

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street

Abrams, April, 2011/ ISBN 978-0-8109-9719-6 / Audio version, Narrated by Lisa Baney:

This middle grade novel revolves around a neighborhood’s one remaining orange tree and the secrets told, grand ideas shared, and events witnessed in its presence. The story is told in the viewpoints of the street’s many inhabitants, past and present.

  • 2012 FOCAL Award from the Los Angeles Public Library
  • California Library Association Beatty Award
  • Commonwealth Club California Book Award Gold Medal
  • 2011 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Children’s Products competition Gold Winner
  • *2012 N. California Independent Booksellers Book of the Year Award Winner for Middle Readers!
  • “CCBC Choices 2012,” the annual best-of-the-year list of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).
  • VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2011 list
  • 2011 Pennyslvania School Librarians Association Young Adult Top Forty or so titles
  • Summer 2011 Kids’ Indie Next List: “Inspired Recommedations for Kids from Indie Booksellers”
  • 2011 Southern California Independent Booksellers Book Award Finalist in the Children’s Novel Category
  • 2014-1015 Master List Massachusetts Children’s Book Award

“Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing.”

Kirkus, starred

“Fascinating and thought-provoking, the writing has a gentle cadence, richness in detail, and is charged with emotion. The book, like the oranges on the Orange Street tree, presents segments of life that are both sweet and tart and sure to satisfy.”

School Library Journal, starred

“…realistic, evocative novel, which features a warm and believable community of adults and children… culminating in a confrontation that resolves several mysteries and brings out the best in everyone.” Ages 8–12.

Publishers Weekly

“Readers will be delighted with the author’s talent for showing how everyone is somehow connected.”

Library Media Connection, starred

“In one marvelous chapter the tree tells its own history…This deceptively simple book reminds us how important the things we sometimes take for granted are: friendship, family, love, and the interconnectedness of our everyday world.”

New York Journal of Books

Here's the orange tree that was the inspiration for my book. The birdhouse looks like my husband, Gerry.

Here’s the orange tree that was the inspiration for my book. The birdhouse looks like my husband, Gerry.

For YOUR Eyes Only

Scholastic, ISBN 059067448-X/ pper / Also Available as an Audiobook: 0-439-73119-4

Lucy learns truths about beauty and love through poetry and journal-keeping.

  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year!
  • Nominated for the PEN Center USA West Literary Award in Children’s Literature
  • Nominated for state awards in Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Mexico and Maryland
  • Included in the “One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing” List of the NY Public Library
  • Included as a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
  • Voted best book for children ages 9-11 by Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Public Library

“It’s a slice of life, right out of the kids’ experience,…This is the age when children start to prefer more realistic stories.”

Elizabeth Huntoon, director of children’s and young adult services for Chicago’s library system

“However you introduce this story–as a model for journaling, as inspiration for poetry writing, or as an examination of adolescent thoughts–this book will be a feast for your students’ eyes…and their minds.”

The Mailbox Bookbag, The Teacher’s Idea Magazine For Children’s Literature

“An unusual novel set in modern-day Los Angeles…the writing and situations are realistic and believable.”

School Library Journal, starred

Strudel Stories

Delacorte/ Random House ISBN 0-385-32602-5

A family bakes strudel and tells stories over the course of 7 generations and 100 years.

(This book is out of print but can be found in your local library.)

  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the year!
  • An American Library Association Notable Book

“Mixing memories of her own relatives’ stories with a bit of history and imagination, Rocklin makes her Jewish family come alive in these warm, humorous selections…As a read-aloud, this book is sure to inspire families to share their own memories and recipes. STRUDEL STORIES is an excellent choice for oral history and intergenerational projects, as well as for immigration units…”

School Library Journal, starred

“Rocklin writes with flair and with heart – and for the truly inspired she includes three generations of strudel recipes…A treat no matter how you slice it.”

Publishers Weekly

“Rocklin based her fiction on ‘the memoirs of ordinary people,’ and each of her narrators has an individual, personal voice that rings true. It’s a tribute to Rocklin’s storytelling that this light but nourishing title leaves readers wanting more. An author’s note, a family tree, and strudel recipes are included.”

The Bulletin for Children’s Books

The Very Best Hanukkah Gift

Delacorte/ Random House ISBN 0-385-32656-4

A boy who is afraid of dogs learns the meaning of courage during the week of Hanukkah.

(This book is out of print but can be found in your local library.)

  • Notable Children’s Books of Jewish Content: The Best of the Bunch –Jewish Libraries
  • Named one of the Best Hanukkah Books for Children by The Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee of the Association of Jewish Libraries

“With refreshing, believable characters, this engaging story of a boy’s fears, a supportive family, and a celebration that reflects traditional values is a great Hanukkah gift in itself.”


“Written with warmth and humor, with a chapter for each night of the celebration, this is a spirited middle-grade reader that’s full of holiday tradition.”

School Library Journal, starred