Evelyn Chen's Reviews > Locomotion

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
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really liked it
bookshelves: african-american

APA Citation:
Woodson, Jacqueline. (2003) Locomotion /New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons,

Interest/Reading Level: Grades 6-8

Lonnie Collins (age 11) lost his parents in a tragic fire four years ago and since then he has been under the care of Miss Edna, who apparently does not like boys. Lonnie Collins (Locomotion), encouraged by his teacher Ms. Marcus, writes poems to assuage his knotted feelings of being in a foster home and being separated from his younger sister Lili. As the reader progresses through the novel, written in verse, they follow Locomotion's journey of coming to terms with his past and looking forward.

Students are often intimidated by poetry, because many find the meaning behind poems difficult to decrypt. However, Woodson wonderfully invites young students to give poetry a second chance. She creates a character many can relate to, and teachers can easily use excerpts from this book to teach the various forms of poetry. Students can be inspired by Woodson's work to write their own haiku, sonnet, epitaph, or rap.

As a secondary teacher in a large urban district, I was particularly drawn to the character of Ms. Marcus, the only white teacher in a predominantly black community. If I taught English, I would love to lead a discussion about race, stereotypes, white privilege, and issues of power.
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