Penny from Heaven (Random House, 2006) by Jennifer L. Holm definitely has good voice. It's 1953 and Penny can't go swimming because of the fear of polio. She lives with her mom and Pop-pop and Me-me, but spends a lot of time with her dad's side of the family. Nonny still doesn't speak good English and Uncle Dominic lives in his car, but the food is great at her grandmother Falucci's house. Readers will learn along with Penny how her father died and why the two families don't have much to do with each other.
This book is a 2007 Newbery honor book. Author Jennifer L. Holm also won a Newbery honor for her first novel, Our Only May Amelia. Read about her other books here.
If you've ever read any Christopher Paul Curtis, you'll expect his historical novel Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic Press, 2007) to have good voice. You won't be disappointed. From the humor of hoop snakes to serious business of freed slaves saving money to buy their family member's freedom, this story flows.
Fra-gile Elijah is 11 and the first free born child of freed slaves in the community. Everyone remembers how as a baby he throwed up on Frederick Douglas, but by the end of the story Elijah accomplishes something else that he thinks they'll be remembering instead.
Christopher is a great speaker, too. If you ever get a chance to hear him, go! Here's his website.