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Peace, Locomotion

Peace, Locomotion

4.5 15
by Jacqueline Woodson

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Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he’s living apart from his little sister, Lili, he decides it’s his job to be the “rememberer”—and write down everything that happens while they’re growing up. Lonnie’s musings are bittersweet; he’s happy that he and Lili have new


Twelve-year-old Lonnie is finally feeling at home with his foster family. But because he’s living apart from his little sister, Lili, he decides it’s his job to be the “rememberer”—and write down everything that happens while they’re growing up. Lonnie’s musings are bittersweet; he’s happy that he and Lili have new families, but though his new family brings him joy, it also brings new worries. With a foster brother in the army, concepts like Peace have new meaning for Lonnie.

Told through letters from Lonnie to Lili, this thought-provoking companion to Jacqueline Woodson’s National Book Award finalist Locomotion tackles important issues in captivating, lyrical language. Lonnie’s reflections on family, loss, love and peace will strike a note with readers of all ages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
. . . the spare, beautiful prose - both the dialogue and the fast first-person narrative - is as lyrical as the first book.
Melanie Hundley
Peace, Locomotion is the lyrical and thoughtful companion text to Woodson's National Book Award Finalist, Locomotion. Lonnie Collins Motion, aka Locomotion, struggles to find his place in his new foster family. He loves his new family but misses his sister, Lili, who was placed with a different family. He is dealing with the loss of his parents while his new family is struggling with his foster brother's war injury. The novel's backdrop is a country questioning what peace means during the time of an unwanted and unpopular war and provides a timeless quality to the story. Woodson once again shows her ability to create a thoughtful and reflective character who confronts and grows from dealing with his fears and insecurities. While this story deals with social issues and societal concerns, it does so without the bleakness often present in texts focusing on loss, grief, war, and foster families. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Living in a foster home apart from his younger sister Lili, twelve-year-old Lonnie C. Motion (a.k.a. Locomotion) is determined to keep their sibling bond strong through letters. Initially, he sets out to be the "rememberer" for them, writing his recollections of times spent with their parents before they died in a fire. As time passes, his letters expand their focus to include observations about his new family, his visits with Lili, the return of his foster mother's son from the Iraq War, and the veteran's adaptation to an injury that left him with just one leg. Lonnie is a tender-hearted, strong, funny protagonist, and readers will quickly be drawn into "his" heartfelt words. Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson has done it again, adding a stirring contribution to the canon of children's literature "must-read" books. This is a companion to her National Book Award finalist, Locomotion (2004), which was written as a series of poems. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
VOYA - Domina Daughtry
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 war. This 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. Reviewer: Domina Daughtry
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Lonnie (Lonnie Collins Motion), a 12-year-old African-American boy, and his younger sister, Lili, are in separate foster homes since their parents died in a house fire some years earlier. Desperate to keep the sibling relationship alive, Lonnie makes sure they visit and he also writes letters to Lili that document their lives and his intention for them to be together one day. In Jacqueline Woodson's sequel (2009) to her National Book Award Finalist, Locomotion(2003, both Putnam), the whole concept of peace and war comes into Lonnie's life as his foster mother's son returns home from the war without his legs. Lonnie's growing sense of peace and the futility of war becomes a large part of this story, and each letter to Lili is signed "Peace, Locomotion." Dion Graham's narration sounds exactly like that of a boy whose world is constantly shifting. His expert use of prosody makes each and every letter come alive. Lonnie's job in his family is to be "the rememberer," and Graham's performance is equally memorable. Woodson's well-developed characters, lyrical text, and important themes and Graham's superb narration make this engaging audiobook a must-have for library collections.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
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)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.62(h) x 0.44(d)
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Remember I said, One day, we’ll be together again? I know that day is taking a lot longer to come than it should, but I still believe it’s gonna get here, Little Sister. And that’s why I’m trying to write you lots and lots. Because I love writing and I love you and when me and you are together again, I’m gonna want us to remember everything that happened when we were living apart. I’m gonna hold on to all these letters and when we’re living together again, they’re gonna be the first present I give you. A whole box of the Before Time. That’s what this is, Lili, even though I know when me and you get sad, all we think about is the other Before Time—before the fire, before we lived apart from each other. But this is a whole new Before Time. And it’s cool because we’ll be able to re­member a whole other set of good things, right? So I’m writing. And I’m remembering. For me. And for you, Lili.

Also by Jacqueline Woodson

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


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Copyright © 2009 by Jacqueline Woodson.

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Woodson, Jacqueline.
Peace, Locomotion / Jacqueline Woodson. p. cm.

Summary: Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as “Locomotion,” keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

[1. Foster home care—Fiction. 2. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 3. Orphans—Fiction.
4. Peace—Fiction. 5. African Americans—Fiction. 6. Letters—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.W868Pe 2009 [Fic]—dc22 2008018583


ISBN: 9781440699160

For Tashawn and Ming
And eventually, for Ryleigh

Table of Contents



Also by Jacqueline Woodson

Title Page

Copyright Page



Imagine Peace

Dear Lili,

Little Things by Lonnie C. Motion

Dear Lili,

Imagine Peace Again


Discussion Questions

An Excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming

An Excerpt from Locomotion

Also by Jacqueline Woodson

Last Summer with Maizon
The Dear One
Maizon at Blue Hill
Between Madison and Palmetto
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This
The House You Pass on the Way
If You Come Softly
Miracle’s Boys
Behind You
After Tupac and D Foster


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!


I’m not a really loud kid, I swear. I’m just me and sometimes I maybe make a little bit of noise.
If I was a grown-up maybe Miss Edna wouldn’t always be telling me to be quiet but I’m eleven and maybe eleven’s just noisy.


Maybe twelve’s quieter.


But when Miss Edna’s voice comes on, 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 chance to find out what it’s trying to say.


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.
I tell her about the smoke and she says
Good, Lonnie, write that.
Not a whole lot of people be saying Good, Lonnie to me so I write the string-of-smoke thing down real fast.
Ms. Marcus says We’ll worry about line breaks later.


Write fast, Lonnie, Ms. Marcus says.
And I’m thinking Yeah, I better write fast before Miss
Edna’s voice comes on and blows my candle idea out.


At night sometimes after Miss Edna goes to bed I go up on the roof
Sometimes I sit counting the stars
Maybe one is my mama and another one is my daddy And maybe that’s why sometimes they flicker a bit
I mean the stars flicker


Ms. Marcus says line breaks help us figure out what matters to the poet
Don’t jumble your ideas
Ms. Marcus says
Every line
should count.


Once when we was real little
I was sitting at the window holding my baby sister, Lili on my lap.
Mama was in the kitchen and Daddy must’ve been at work.
Mama kept saying
Honey, don’t you drop my baby.


A pigeon came flying over to the ledge and was looking at us.
Lili put her hand on the glass and the pigeon tried to peck at it.
Lili snatched her hand away and screamed.
Not a scared scream,
just one of those laughing screams that babies who can’t talk yet like to do.


Mama came running out the kitchen drying her hands on her jeans.
When she saw us just sitting there, she let out a breath.
Oh, my Lord, she said,
I thought you’d dropped my baby.
I asked
Was I ever your baby, Mama?
and Mama looked at me all warm and smiley.


You still are, she said.
Then she went back in the kitchen.


Meet the Author

Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the 2014 National Book Award Winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DREAMING, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. 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 is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books  include THE OTHER SIDE, EACH KINDNESS, Caldecott Honor Book COMING ON HOME SOON; Newbery Honor winners FEATHERS, SHOW WAY, and AFTER TUPAC AND D FOSTER, and MIRACLE'S BOYS—which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award and was adapted into a miniseries directed by Spike Lee. Jacqueline is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature, the winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and was the 2013 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

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Peace, Locomotion 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
cocoduke More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline Woodson is a wonderful YA author! She is a masterful storyteller. Her characters are credible, warm and memorable. Her stories are poignant. This book is simply lovely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh nothing. (Rp) Just getting back into swimming. (Rl) Baby sitting my friends puppy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny how she was kissing Tiran in the second result right when you were kissing her here.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*he watches her*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crp wat song did u post
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ur the daughter of the wine god
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Sandi Hearn More than 1 year ago
Greatt book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
*Wonderful storyline in journal/letter writing form written by young Lonnie Collins Motion to his sister. *Gives readers insight into a young heart and a mind for the beauty of poetry. *Inspires readers to follow their passion for poetry. *Heart-touching story with a protagonist you will, hopefully, relate to. *Emotionally-charged. *Easy-to-read, you will probably be able to read it in one or two days.
Shelia Asselin More than 1 year ago
I just finished the book and loved it!,