Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Simple, But Profound: Locomotion Another Winner From Jacqueline Woodson

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When a fire kills his parents, everything changes for Lonnie Collins Motion (aka "Locomotion). With no relatives available to care for them, he and his younger sister are placed in foster care. In different homes. Lonnie vows to keep what's left of his family together, but it's becoming more and more difficult. It's been four years since his parents died and he and Lili are still living apart. They've both got decent foster moms - Lonnie just wishes they could live under the same roof. But, judging from the evil eye he gets from Lili's foster mom whenever he comes around, that ain't gonna be happening anytime soon.
Lonnie's full to bursting with suppressed emotion. So, when his teacher suggests expressing his thoughts through poetry, he decides to give it a try. Soon, his poetry notebook's full of verses - about himself, his sister, his nightmares of the past and his dreams for the future. Letting it all out helps Lonnie make sense of his jumbled-up life, giving him a measure of peace, even when things aren't working out quite the way he wants them to.
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson is a short, but powerful book about one boy's quest to understand himself and his place in a world that has changed so irrevocably he barely recognizes it. Through the verses he pens, Lonnie becomes not just knowable, but sympathetic and admirable. If you've read Woodson before (and if you haven't, you really must), you know she has a knack for creating interesting, relatable characters who make her stories about family, friendship, race, and identity all the more personal. Locomotion is just such a tale. With a beautiful simplicity that's both sensitive and realistic, Woodson has penned yet another memorable middle grade novel. It's a quick read that's definitely worth the time.
(Readalikes: Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson)
Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG

To the FTC, with love: Another library

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