( 32 )


When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he's eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain't babies." But Lonnie hasn't given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She's already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, ...
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When Lonnie was seven years old, his parents died in a fire. Now he's eleven, and he still misses them terribly. And he misses his little sister, Lili, who was put into a different foster home because "not a lot of people want boys-not foster boys that ain't babies." But Lonnie hasn't given up. His foster mother, Miss Edna, is growing on him. She's already raised two sons and she seems to know what makes them tick. And his teacher, Ms. Marcus, is showing him ways to put his jumbled feelings on paper.

Told entirely through Lonnie's poetry, we see his heartbreak over his lost family, his thoughtful perspective on the world around him, and most of all his love for Lili and his determination to one day put at least half of their family back together. Jacqueline Woodson's poignant story of love, loss, and hope is lyrically written and enormously accessible.

In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 60 poems, an orphaned boy explores the various forms of poetry. "Through her hero, the author creates a contagious appreciation for poetry while using the genre as a cathartic means for expressing the young poet's own grief," said PW in a starred review. Ages 8-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This book takes the reader into the life of a young boy growing up in a foster home after being separated from his little sister. Its simple yet honest poetry gives you a clear look into the feelings and emotions of Lonnie as he takes what he is given and makes poetry out of it. Locomotion gives you a point of view not often told and takes you on a journey to remember. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Putnam's, 128p,
— Lisa Paluszkiewicz, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Four years after losing his parents in a fire, and separated from his younger sister, an 11-year-old African-American boy finds catharsis in writing poetry. Told in Lonnie's affecting voice, this tightly constructed, exemplary novel in verse will touch readers' hearts. JD Jackson's cassette narration allows listeners to feel the rhythm of the different poetic forms from sonnets to haiku to free verse. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Count on award-winning Woodson (Visiting Day, p. 1403, etc.) to present readers with a moving, lyrical, and completely convincing novel in verse. Eleven-year-old Lonnie ("Locomotion") starts his poem book for school by getting it all down fast: "This whole book’s a poem ’cause every time I try to / tell the whole story my mind goes Be quiet! / Only it’s not my mind’s voice, / it’s Miss Edna’s over and over and over / Be quiet! . . . So this whole book’s a poem because poetry’s short and / this whole book’s a poem ’cause Ms. Marcus says / write it down before it leaves your brain." Lonnie tells readers more, little by little, about his foster mother Miss Edna, his teacher Ms. Marcus, his classmates, and the fire that killed his parents and separated him from his sister. Slowly, his gift for observing people and writing it down lets him start to love new people again, and to widen his world from the nugget of tragedy that it was. Woodson nails Lonnie’s voice from the start, and lets him express himself through images and thoughts that vibrate in the different kinds of lines he puts down. He tends to free verse, but is sometimes assigned a certain form by Ms. Marcus. ("Today’s a bad day / Is that haiku? Do I look / like I even care?") As in her prose novels, Woodson’s created a character whose presence you can feel like they were sitting next to you. And with this first novel-in-verse for her, Lonnie will sit by many readers and teach them to see like he does, "This day is already putting all kinds of words / in your head / and breaking them up into lines / and making the lines into pictures in your mind." Don’t let anyone miss this. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142415528
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/7/2010
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 97,194
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: NPL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Born on February 12th in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline Woodson grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She now writes full-time and has recently received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Her other awards include a Newbery Honor, two Coretta Scott King awards, two National Book Award finalists, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Although she spends most of her time writing, Woodson also enjoys reading the works of emerging writers and encouraging young people to write, spending time with her friends and her family, and sewing. Jacqueline Woodson currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents


Title Page

Copyright Page


































































Discussion Questions

An Exciting Preview of: Brown Girl Dreaming

An Exciting Preview of: Peace, Locomotion


Some days, like today and yesterday and probably tomorrow—all my missing gets jumbled up inside of me.


You know honeysuckle talc powder?
Mama used to smell like that. She told me honeysuckle’s really a flower but all I know is the powder that smells like Mama.
Sometimes when the missing gets real bad
I go to the drugstore and before the guard starts following me around like I’m gonna steal something
I go to the cosmetics lady and ask her if she has it....


After Tupac and D Foster

Behind You

Beneath a Meth Moon

Between Madison and Palmetto

Brown Girl Dreaming

The Dear One


From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun

The House You Pass on the Way


I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This

If You Come Softly

Last Summer with Maizon


Maizon at Blue Hill

Miracle’s Boys

Peace, Locomotion



Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank,
Johannesburg 2196, South Africa


Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England


First published in the United States of America by G. P. Putnam’s Sons,
a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003
Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2004


Copyright © Jacqueline Woodson, 2003

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 10, 2011

    Lowly Recomended-Dont Read It

    "When Lonnie was seven his life changed forever. Now he is 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 Lilli and his foster mom Miss. Edna"
    in this poetic book by Jacqueline Woodson called Locomotion.

    I would recommend this book to anyone of any age who wants to go to sleep. Ithought that this book was boring because the tone was and the book was to. I would give this book a 1 out of 5 stars because of descriptive language.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2011

    Fair Warning-Bad Book Ahead!

    I am reviewing a book titled Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson. This story takes place in Ms. Edna's house mostly. This story is a realistic fiction. It is about a boy named Lonnie Collins Motion (a.k.a, Locomotion). Years ago, his parents died, causing him to have to go to the foster home. Ms. Edna one day came and got him. Now, Ms. Marcus (his teacher) will teach him a way to get his emotions down on paper. I greatly disliked this book. I had no idea what was happening. The author was constantly changing topics. I would recommend this book to readers ages 7-10. This book wasn't hard, just confusing. I would give this book a 4/10.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013


    Varry god bok lonnie is an interesting and a sweet caring brother to his sister lili and and they got put in differant foster homes because his parents died in a house fire and lonie misses them dearley and i think that it is a goodbook other people might have differant opinons but this is just what i think of this bok oh i would reccomend this book to al it gives you a life lesson that means you dont know what you have until its gone and that is what lonie is figuring out it is a good book i lovethis book we are reading this in school i cant wait till the end i want to see what happens

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    locomotiion is a intersting poem book its about a boy named lonn

    locomotiion is a intersting poem book its about a boy named lonnie who is a orphen and only cares about her sister. he writes poems about his felling and others. the book is really short for small reader locomotion is really great and you should go read.G.M SAN JOASE

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2011


    Good book love it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    Woodson, J. (2003). Locomotion. New York: SPEAK.

    Locomotion consists of the poems written by eleven-year-old Lonnie, who is living in a foster home, separated from his sister. Through his poems, Lonnie works to rediscover his voice, his home and his family.

    Also central to Lonnie's story is his relationship with his teacher, Ms. Marcus. Since she is a white teacher working in a predominantly black urban school, a teacher could introduce a discussion of race, stereotypes, whiteness and issues of power.

    Other issues present include subtle discussions of the Iraq War as well as initial exploration of faith in God.

    There's now a sequel to this book in the form of an epistolary novel.

    Activities to do with the book:

    Since Lonnie's poems reference the work of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, this National Book Award finalist lends itself to discussions of poets and writing. Lonnie often makes comments about the structures of his poems and would be a great entry point for a teacher to discuss poetic forms.

    One of Lonnie's classmates has Sickle Cell Anemia, so the book could be used to trigger a discussion of genetics. Also, while announcing that Sickle Cell Anemia affects African American, Woodson points out that a white teacher is saying this to a predominantly black class, so this could also lead to an early discussion of race and power relations within the classroom environment and beyond.

    Favorite Quotes

    ".the ideas in my
    head go out like a candle and all you see left is this little
    string of smoke that disappears real quick
    before I even have a change to find out
    what it's trying to say" (p. 1).

    "Outside it's starting to rain and the way the rain comes
    down-tap, tapping against the window-gets me to
    thinking. Ms. Marcus don't understand some things
    even though she's my favorite teacher in the world.
    Things like my brown, brown arm" (p. 12-13).

    "Up here the sky goes on and on like something
    you could fall right up into.

    And keep falling.
    Fall so fast
    and so far
    and for so long you don't
    have to worry about where you're gonna live next,

    where you gonna be

    if somebody all of a sudden
    changes their mind about living with you" (p. 25).

    FOR MORE OF MY REVIEWS, VISIT sjkessel.blogspot.com.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007


    Locomotion was a pretty short book an average reader could finish it in 45-1hour. The book was written as a group of poems telling a story. The book was about a girl whose parents died and she moves from home to home and wants to stay and see her brother. It is a very laid back book and sad. It was not the best book I have read but I thought others might like it. I thought the author did very well at describing and giving detail. This book was like real life because there is children who have lost their parents have died in a car crash or something tragic and have to go to an orphanage and travel form home to home, and there life is not going well. A them of the book is enjoy your life no matter what, because even if your life isn¿t going well you can fix it. I think over all the book was a 7/10, it wasn¿t that fun to read and it is very slow and just like straggling on to make more words. People who like to read books about kids might like it but, over all most people might not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Kids Review

    The title of my first book was Locomotion, the author was Jacqueline Woodson. It took place in several places, school, the roof of his house, his house, and his little sister¿s new house. Locomotion is a poem book all of the pages have a different poem on them even if it was a Haiku. There are 100 pages (that¿s a lot of poems). The story is about a boy, when his life changes around when he was 7. In all of the poems it tells you from when he was 11 then back to the age of 7 then back to 11. It is sad in some parts, and the characters can get a little mean in the others. The main characters are Lonnie Collins Motion who is 11 and used to talk a lot when his foster mother Miss Edna told him to be quiet all of the time. He has a nick name Locomotion because when he, his sister, and his real mom used to dance to the song Locomotion and that¿s where he got his nickname. Miss Edna is a nice person but in the beginning of the book she was a little mean. She adopted Lonnie instead of a girl because she raised two sons by herself and she thought that she could do it again. Plus she doesn¿t really know that much of a girl¿s life. Lili is Lonnie¿s little sister. She was adopted by a nice and proper lady who lived far away from where Lonnie lived. He would visit her on some days so that they could talk and see how they¿re both doing. They meet in church (because they go to the same church), and once they had to meet in a building so that Lili¿s new mother could keep an eye on Lonnie. She didn¿t really trust kids like him (for some odd reason). Another main character is Eric. Eric is a little mean, and tall. He talked a lot and then, he got a very bad disease named sickle and he had to go to the hospital for a couple of weeks. Lamont (Eric¿s friend) is almost like him but he is smaller than him. He can get a little over tempered but he is nice. There is a girl named LaTenya goes to Lonnie¿s school. She only has 9 fingers all together because she had to have one of them cut off. Lonnie likes her. That¿s all o f the main characters in Locomotion. My favorite part is whenever he gets to see his little sister Lili because they haven¿t seen each other in long times. To me it¿s a little sad because they didn¿t get adopted by the same mother and plus Lili¿s new mother didn¿t even like Lonnie. She even asked if he went to jail. That¿s not the kind of respect I would want. I would recommend Locomotion to people who like poems. There are some poems in the book that look like a couple pages but t it¿s really fast to read. Plus some of them don¿t even rhyme with each of the sentences. But other than that, the book is really good to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    Kids Review

    Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson is a short, skinny book because it only has 100 pages but if you read it, it¿s a book you won¿t regret reading.I give this book 4 stars. This book doesn¿t really have a setting and I would say its genre is Fiction. This book is about a boy named Locomotion who is in foster care and he is writing all this poetry in his school about his life and what he, his little sister who is with a different foster mother and believes that she and her brother will one day be together again, and his friends are going through in their every day lives. My favorite part was the part when Locomotion¿s best friend is not in school for a couple of days and Locomotion and his other friend are wondering what happened to him until one day his best friend comes to school from the Hospital because he had a disease and just recovered from it. I like this part because it tells how Locomotion is caring and how even though he doesn¿t have very much friends he still is caring about everyone. I recommend this book, not only because it was a good book but also because it lets you get a picture of what its like to see through a foster child¿s eyes and all the trouble that they saw in their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    kid review

    The book that I read was locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson it took place in a normal city. The genre was realistic fiction it had 100 pages. Locomotion is about a boy that is orphaned with his sister and they were separated their names are locomotion and Lillie. His sister thinks that when he finishes reading the bible that they will be together again so he reads it every night before he goes to bed. This whole story is all written in poems and gives the story an odd twist but I liked it. As you now the characters names there traits are very cool locomotion is very quiet because when he was split u¬p with his sister his foster mother always told him to be quiet and now she says where is that kid that I used to know that always made all that noise its ok to make noise some time. This book is a little religious because the boy and the girl in the story are Christian and they. I recommend this book to others because it is very nice considerate book. This book shows you how it would be if u lived without your parents and you and your siblings were split apart from each other. This book also shows how it is to be not all that popular and shows how real friends are treat each other if their hurt or really sick and when I say hurt I mean by. Also it shows how real friends act and being hurt that is pain and hurt in a way that your heart hurts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007


    Locomotion I would like to recommend the book Locomotion. By Jacqueline Woodson I recommend it because it was written in poetry form. If you like poetry than this is a good book for you to read. I like the poetry book it is because they are easier to read then regular fiction. Also, it was good because it wasn¿t talking about the same topic more than once. It seemed that it change scenes some times because Locomotion has trouble remembering parts of what he is writing about so it is easier. This realistic fiction story takes place in present time New York and it is about a kid named Lonnie Collins Motion and his nickname was after song locomotion. So every time the song locomotion came on his mom made him and his brother dance to it. This book is about a kid who has trouble remembering things so his teacher suggests that he write everything down. Every time he thinks about talking/writing he hears a voice of an old teacher who says ¿shut-up¿. That means that he has to write things down before he forgets them. I think its genre is realistic fiction. This book is called Locomotion. It is 100 pages. I think my favorite scene was when Locomotion was in school and this kid Eric wasn¿t in school for a while. Eric was a bully. Who bossed kids around. The teacher said that Eric was sick and he was in the hospital. I liked the scene because I think the kids were sad even though they knew he was mean. It was nice they still cared about him being sick. Everybody felt bad for him when he was sick. I would give this book a 4 out of a 5 star rating. The book Locomotion is an easy read. The book was a very good book I liked it because if you are a slow reader it is a good book for you. It only has 100 pages and some aren¿t that long 'some pages have 3 sentences'. I liked the book because it was a very easy read and I enjoyed it. This book was a good read for me because it had an easier words and shorter pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007


    BOOK REVIEW I would recommend Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson to any one that like¿s poetry. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. This book takes place in the past and the present. Locomotion is the main character of the book. He is a boy who is loving and caring for his family. He is also a boy that loves to write poems about his life and his surroundings. Locomotion is about a boy whose mom and dad have died, and his sister and him are in different foster homes. He is living with Mrs. Edna who is his foster parent. He is a boy that goes to school and his teacher is Mrs. Marcus. Mrs. Marcus loves to look at his poems and suggests things that could make them better. There is one poem it is called school that is about Mrs. Marcus and his other teachers. His sister is in upstate New York. The reason that they is in different foster homes is his sitter¿s foster parent always wanted a girl. All of a sudden Mrs. Edna said he was going to go upstate New York and he is wondering if he will see his sister again? My favorite part of the book is the poem New Boy 1,2,3 because it was about him. The reason that I liked that poem New Boy 1,2,3 is it was about his life and how his parents died. I would recommend this 100 page book to anyone who really likes poetry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007


    I would recommend this book Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson. The genre is realistic fiction. This book takes place in the present time. It tells the story of Lonnie Collins Motion who is a boy that lost his mother and father and is now spilt up from his sister when they were put with foster parents. Lonnie is very caring for his foster parent but does not like his sisters and they don¿t like him. My favorite part of the book is the poem Parent¿s Poem, it tells about how his parents died, He says the fire took them and people feel sad for him, Sometimes he says his parents just passed away and they don¿t care. It is my favorite part because it makes me think what I would say if I ever lost my parents. I recommend this book because it is a great small book to read if you have a couple of extra hours. At only 112 pages it is a great page turner that is sad and some times happy. It is a great poetry book to read if you do like poetry. So if you are a person who also likes realistic fiction then this is a great book by Jacqueline Woodson. Overall I think this is a great book that I recommend very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007


    In Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (100 pgs.) a boy named Lonnie is living with a foster mother named Miss. Edna. They live in an apartment building in New York City. Locomotion is realistic fiction. Lonnie goes to school like normal kids but his life is not, he has no parents because they had died in a fire that happened in his house when he was seven. He is 11 years old and all he has is Miss. Edna his foster mother and his little sister Lilly. He has Miss. Edna¿s sons, but one lives in upstate New York and the other is in the war fighting. This book is all about the poems Mrs. Marcus, Lonnie¿s teacher, said he should do to get out his feelings about his parents. Lonnie writes about his parents and his little sister Lily mostly, but he also writes his feelings about people and things. Lonnie has a nickname, Locomotion he got that name from his mother because she used to say: Come on baby do the Locomotion with me, and that name just stuck to him. Lonnie loves to sit on the roof and count stars and think that 2 of those stars are his mom and dad. My favorite part of the book is the poem, Lily he writes about he and his little sister used to play with their family and how they were such a good family too. I would recommend this book if you like poem books and you love sad books. By: Elena Osorio

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006


    He had a nice family, and a nice home but the flames took it all away. 11-year-old Lonnie¿s parents are gone and his sister Lili is separated from him. Latter Lonnie gets adopted ¿ by Miss Edna to live in a small town- and learns that it is a good idea to write down things that happen. But it becomes to hard, so he starts writing in poetry. He learns about his new mom¿s family and meets many friends. The book is appropriate for all ages as well as entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2006


    I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The main character was engaging and so was the story. I love that the book isn't linear, and I love how it uses different styles and forms of poetry to tell the story, very unique. Although it addresses the 'tough stuff' in life it is nonetheless relatable and engaging. I enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2005

    It was nice, but sad!

    This book is about a child that is orphaned at a young age,& goes from home to home trying to find a good place to live. This is also a Poem book he is a well writer of poems.He ales about fires because that`s what destroyed his family,he has a sister but she was seporated from him when he went to the orphanage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2005


    i love this book because it kept me wondering what would happen next. And at that time i was writing poems for a school assignment and this book gave me the inspiration that i needed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2005

    Great to use while teaching poetry!

    I used this book in my 5th grade classroom and the students loved it! After a new kind of poem was introduced, they would write their own poem. Students who rarely took a chance with writing were engaged and excitied about writing poetry. Beautiful and moving book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2003


    This book is great. Yoe can see how this elevn year old boy thinks about life and God.

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