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Book: Locomotion

Author: Jacqueline Woodson

Published: 2004

Book Summary: “When Lonnie Collins Motion ‘Locomotion’ was seven years old, his life changed forever. Now he’s eleven, and his life is about to change again. 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 Lili, and even his foster mom, Miss Edna, who started out crabby but isn’t so bad after all. Jacqueline Woodson’s novel-in-poems is humorous, heartbreaking . . . a triumph” from

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

What this book did well

Through the poems in “Locomotion,” Jacqueline Woodson tells the emotional, thoughtful story of the main character, Lonnie Motion, whose parents died in a fire when he was little. Woodson does this with a variety of verses that Motion writes during poetry time in his class. These poems convey Motion’s feelings and memories in a way that other forms of writing wouldn’t be able to catch.

What this book could improve upon

“Locomotion” had great potential to be a compelling story. However, the book was more of a memoir or short biography of Motion’s past. Not too much changes in the story, besides Motion finding his sister again and trying to understand God. Due to the short length of the book, the characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be as well. The book was more of an introduction to the character of Motion and his background rather than the true picture.

Regarding the foster care system, Motion doesn’t really talk about how he came to be with his foster mom, Miss Edna. While Edna is a character readers can learn to love, especially towards the end of the novel, her role as Motion’s foster mother could’ve been touched upon better. How Motion’s sister came to be with her current guardian is also not mentioned or expanded upon.

These subjects would have been interesting to hear about, especially for those looking to learn about the foster care system. Readers could find more answers on this subject and other related subjects on the Adoption Choices website.

Who should read this book

Anyone looking for a quick read or examples of excellent poetry should read this book. Woodson’s work would be especially great for children who have gone through trauma and look for a person in literature to relate to.

While this book was short and didn’t have a captivating plot, the poems were simple and engaging. They provided great imagery throughout the book and provided insights into Motion’s head that readers otherwise wouldn’t see.

More adoption book reviews by Brynne:

Butterflies in May – Book Review

Missing Sisters – Adoption Book Review

“Forever, or a Long, Long Time” – Adoption Book Review


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