Poetry in “Locomotion”. Jacqueline Woodson’s beautiful little book.

Jacqueline Woodson’s “Locomotion” (ages 9 – 12) tells the story of Lonnie Collins Motion through 60 poems written by 11 year old Lonnie.

At the age of seven, his life changed when his parents were killed in a fire leaving both he and his little sister Lili orphaned. Now four years later in 5th grade, his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper. And suddenly, Lonnie has a whole new way to tell the world about his life, his friends, his little sister and even his foster mom, Miss Edna, who stared out crabby but isn’t so bad after all.

“Despite the spare text, Lonnie’s foster mother and the other minor characters are three-dimensional, making the boy’s world a convincingly real one. His reflections touch on poverty and on being African American when whites seem to have the material advantages, and return repeatedly to the pain of living apart from his younger sister. Readers, though, will recognize Lonnie as a survivor.” (School Library Journal)

Lili’s new mama didn’t want no boys
Just a sweet little girl. Nobody told me that
I just know it.
Not a lot of people want boys
Not foster boys that ain’t babies..
.

This little tome is in many ways an easy read but it’s packed with an amazing amount of profound wisdom and subtle, often heart breaking, beauty.  “Locomotion” is an excellent choice for boys and girls alike from ages 9 – 12.

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