Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

peace-locomotionCindy: Lonnie Collins Motion (Lo-Co-Motion) is back in this sequel to the Coretta Scott King author honor winning Locomotion. In Peace, Locomotion (Penguin/Putnam, 2009) Lonnie continues his story of life in a foster home with Miss Edna, separated from his sister Lili, in another foster home. I like the letter format of this installment even better than the verse of the first one. Lonnie chronicles his days in letters to his sister that he hopes will eventually be a record of the “Before Time” once they are able to live together. A subplot of Miss Edna’s son, Jenkins, and his experience in Iraq adds another layer of worry to Lonnie’s life. Jenkins is reported missing and then is found badly wounded. Miss Edna’s pet phrase, “Sometimes the heart breaks so hard, Lonnie,” is appropriate more than once in this slim novel, but hope shines on in a young man who will win every reader’s heart. Many families are touched by soldiers at war and we don’t have too many novels for elementary students dealing with our current world conflicts, so this is a welcome addition.

Lynn: Woodson packs so much into such a spare book.  She says volumes but there is never a sense of a big red flashing sign saying, “Pay attention to this – it is important!”  Rather, the words slip off the page right into our minds and hearts.  I too found the sections about Jenkins especially poignant.  The image of Miss Edna praying for her missing son hit the mark.  I also loved the very subtle message about the impact of a teacher’s words.  Lonnie’s new teacher tells him he isn’t a poet – he’s an aspiring poet because he hasn’t published anything yet.  Those words carry a world of meaning and hurt to Lonnie who stops writing his poems and begins to let his school work slide.  It takes another teacher to assure Lonnie that poetry happens whether it is published or not and it is clear that Lonnie is a poet to his very soul.  All of us who work with children will  treasure this reminder of the power of our words.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

2 Comments on "Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson"

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  1. shadowmoonsedai@gmail.com' Brittany says:

    I would love to read this book. Any chance I can call dibs on it?

  2. jamaicanlooney@yahoo.com' josaine says:

    this book was a great book but i never got y lily never wrote back. it was kinda weird

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