Reviews for Peace, Locomotion

Booklist Reviews 2008 December #2
"In a moving companion to the National Book Award Finalist Locomotion (2003), Lonnie, now in sixth grade, speaks in letters to his beloved little sister, Lili. The siblings are still heartbroken about their separation, which followed the death of their parents in a fire. Both kids are now safe in loving foster families in their Brooklyn neighborhood, with friends and supportive teachers at school. After Lonnie s foster brother returns home injured from war, the contrast between the peaceful home and the tragedy of war feels savage. While this does not have Locomotion s poetic form, the spare, beautiful prose--both the dialogue and the fast first-person narrative--is as lyrical as the first book. The simple words are packed with longing and are eloquent about the "little things people don t think real hard about," little things that reveal the big issues of family, community, displacement, war, and peace." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #1
In Locomotion (rev. 3/03) eleven-year-old Lonnie Collins Motion told his story in a collection of sixty poems. In this sequel, he continues his story not in poems but in letters he writes to his younger sister, Lili. Lonnie's writing still grows from his memories of their parents and how much he misses them and his sister, who lives with a different foster family. Here, Lonnie also misses his fifth-grade teacher, kind Ms. Marcus, who taught him to write poetry. His sixth-grade teacher tells him he's not a poet until he's published a poem; luckily, she leaves midyear, but it takes Lonnie a while to regain his confidence after that one thoughtless comment. Lonnie also writes about his friends at school and about his foster family, Miss Edna and her adult sons Rodney (who has moved back home) and Jenkins (who's fighting in Iraq). When Jenkins returns home, he is minus a leg, but in this admirably unsentimental novel Jenkins comes to appreciate that he has gained a little brother, one who shows him that it's possible to keep on living despite devastating losses. As in the first book, Lonnie's honesty makes readers believe in him and his writing; that his yearning for peace -- for himself and his sister, for his foster family, for the world -- comes across so subtly yet so powerfully is a testament to Woodson's strength as a writer. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 December #2
Lonnie, of Locomotion (2003), is turning 12. He writes letters to his sister, Lili, to keep in touch between occasional visits arranged by their respective foster mothers. He is happier living with Miss Edna now, but is concerned about forgetting his "real" parents, who died in a fire years ago. Miss Edna's got her own worries, with one grown son "over there fighting in the war." Woodson successfully develops characters that readers will feel close to, but this epistolary narrative does not sparkle as the novel-in-verse did for its predecessor. There, lightness of plot was carried by the energy and accessibility of the poems, which also supported a heartfelt voice that seemed genuinely 11-year-old-boy. Here, Lonnie's extraordinarily thoughtful and articulate letters are a little harder to swallow and do less to engage interest. The short length, the Brooklyn setting, the resonance of the characters' situations with those of many young readers and Woodson's undeniable literary talent still distinguish this among the reading choices available for this audience, but it's only for collections where the one title just won't suffice. (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 December #1

Following the character introduced in Locomotion, Woodson switches from poetry to letters to show how 12-year-old Lonnie Collins Motion, aka Locomotion, maintains a bond with his younger sister, Lili. He reminds her of their past: "There was a time before your foster mama came and said, 'I'll take the little girl but I don't want no boys.' " Besides missing his sister and their late parents, Lonnie has other problems to cope with (his foster mother's son returns from Iraq disabled and traumatized). In his letters, Lonnie shares the big and small details of his days, works through philosophical struggles (a friend tells him that "Miss Edna was my mama now"), and includes some of the tender poems he composes. Although the epistolary motif makes for some stilted writing, Woodson creates a full-bodied character in kind, sensitive Lonnie. Readers will understand his quest for peace, and appreciate the hard work he does to find it. Ages 9-12. (Jan.)

[Page 46]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

Gr 4-6--Readers of Locomotion (Putnam, 2003) will welcome the chance to revisit Lonnie's world. Written as letters from Lonnie to his sister, Lili, who is in a different foster home, the story's backdrop is the unnamed war in which his foster brother Jenkins is fighting. When war directly affects the family, the 12-year-old begins to hope and pray for peace and to grapple with its meaning. Mature readers will see, also, the steps Lonnie is taking as he moves toward peace with himself and his circumstances. While his confusion, pain, and loss are at times palpable, so too are the moments of comfort, love, and sheer joy. As Lonnie's life becomes more and more interwoven with the lives of his foster brothers, his understanding of the meaning of family deepens and grows. The small details of his days drop readers into his Brooklyn neighborhood, surrounded by characters who seem to walk right off the page. Moving, thought-provoking, and brilliantly executed, this is the rare sequel that lives up to the promise of its predecessor. Serving as bookends to the body of the text are two poems in which Lonnie describes peace in everyday terms. In his words, "Peace is the good stuff/That happens to all of us/Sometimes."--Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL

[Page 124]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2009 February
Twelve-year-old Lonnie "Locomotion" Motion has a lot on his mind--mostly his beloved nine-year-old sister Lily. Lonnie and Lily have been living in separate foster homes in Brooklyn for nearly five years after their parents died tragically in a fire. Lonnie realizes that his memories of their family before the fire are beginning to fade and fears that as more time goes by they will disappear altogether. To keep the memories alive, Lonnie writes Lily letters and poems with the plan of one day presenting them to her so that she too will remember. In his writing, Lonnie not only reflects on Lily and their mother and father before the fire, but also his foster family, his love of writing, and the warThis title picks up where Woodson's National Book Award Finalist, Locomotion (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2003/VOYA February 2003), leaves off. Woodson again captures the hearts of younger readers--and much older reviewers--through poetry and prose, masterfully juxtaposing sadness and loss with hope and optimism. Readers' hearts will ache for Lonnie's loss and his longing to be with his sister, but they will find relief in his optimism and in knowing that he has love and happiness in his life--Domina Daughtry 5Q 4P M Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.