Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

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Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A beautiful epistolatory novel about grief, separation and the ripple effects of war. Easy to read and accessible, but punching way above in emotional weight. Lovely stuff.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 144 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Puttnam
ISBN: 039924655X

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It's been a while since Lonnie C Motion - Locomotion to his friends - wrote his sixty poems about coming to terms with the death of his parents in a fire. He's still living with Miss Edna, his kindly foster mother, and his sister Lili is still living with hers. And Locomotion misses Lili more than anything. So he writes her letters, lots of letters.

One of his closest friends has moved away. A mean teacher has taken away his confidence and Locomotion is struggling at school. He's not even writing much poetry. Kindly Miss Edna is worried about her son, Jenkins, who is away fighting a war, persuaded to sign up by offers of paid-for college tuition. And Locomotion is still grieving for his parents.

So you'd think these would be sad letters, wouldn't you? And sometimes, yes, they are. Sometimes, though, they are wonderfully uplifting, for Locomotion really does have a poet's sensibilities, and his words are absolutely captivating. With Jenkins away fighting and Miss Edna away worrying, Locomotion is facing some big issues, which for once, are external. The concept of peace, what it is and how to achieve it, greatly occupies him, as does why people, not so much nations, fight.

Peace, Locomotion is simply written, but beautifully written. Locomotion finds a friend and ally in Miss Edna's other son Rodney, but he's both full of both excitement and trepidation when the wounded Jenkins finally returns home. As the two damaged boys tentatively work their way into getting to know one another, so do Locomotions thoughts about all sorts of things slowly begin to crystallise.

It's lovely stuff, with a high emotional charge, but a commitment to truth which prevents it from getting anywhere near cheesy territory and it comes highly recommended by this reviewer.

My thanks to the nice people at Puttnam for sending the book.

They might also enjoy Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar about a little girl who has lost her mother. Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech has a similar feel and introduces a love of poetry to primary schoolers. Older children might enjoy the much, much darker story of foster child Raven in From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma.

Buy Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson at

Buy Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson at


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