June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny | Rebecca Chace & Kacey Schwartz


Out Now from Balzer + Bray; 352 pages

About the Author: “Rebecca Chace has published four books, Leaving Rock Harbor, Capture the Flag, Chautauqua Summer, June Sparrow and The Million Dollar Penny. Her novel, Talking to the Wolf, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. She is also the author of plays, screenplays, and literary essays. She has written for The New York Times, LA Review of Books, The Yale Review, Guernica, Lit Hub, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other publications. Fellowships include Civitella Ranieri, MacDowell, Yaddo, American Academy in Rome (visiting artist), and many others. She is Program Manager at the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College” (Bio from the author).

Find Rebecca Chace on the following platforms:

About the Illustrator: “I am a freelance artist focusing on illustration, caricature, and character
design!” (Bio from the illustrator’s website).

Find Kacey Schwartz on the following platforms:

“How could she miss what she could hardly remember?”

June Sparrow, a wealthy orphan from New York City, is devastated to learn on the night of her twelfth birthday that her financial manager has been involved in investment fraud and lost her entire fortune. She is forced to move to Red Bank, South Dakota, to live with her estranged aunt Bridget with only the clothes on her back and pet miniature pig Indigo Bunting. June has never been outside the big city, and her aunt is less than welcoming. However, she discovers her mother’s Penny Book that speaks of “The Big One,” a valuable 1943 copper-alloy penny that would allow June to resume her life of luxury. However, June and Indigo’s only clue is a cryptic list of riddles. Along the way, June will be forced to learn more about her mysterious past and adapt to life on the farm.

One of my hobbies during middle school was collecting coins. Although I never found anything valuable, reading June Sparrow and the Million-Dollar Penny would have been right up my alley. The main character, June Sparrow, is persistent in her pursuit of returning to the life she longs for in New York City. June is forced to question her past, present, and future and is not pleased with everything she learns. This determination and grit can inspire young readers to follow their dreams and passions. Removed from her life of luxury, June is able to grow and starts to question things she never considered before, such as unemployment, family ties, and friendship. While I enjoyed June’s journey to find “The Big One,” arguably the star of the story is her pet miniature pig, Indigo Bunting. Indigo is more than just a pet; he is June’s confident best friend. He is also more intelligent than any cat or dog and always knows what June thinks and feels. I especially enjoyed the illustrations before each chapter and those within. Readers will love seeing Indigo dressed up for the opera and as a farmer! The ending is particularly touching and well done. June Sparrow and the Million-Dollar Penny is the perfect heartwarming read for fellow coin collectors that features an adorable miniature pig.

Emilee Ceuninck, Pine Reads Review Lead Writer & Editor