Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Locomotion Book Poster Image
Boy's writings are lyrical, yet seamless and real.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.


Several products mentioned favorably, including Twinkies.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this journal in poetry by an 11-year-old boy may inspire children to try their own journal, and teachers may be inspired by the assignments Lonnie is given.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBenjaminR 1 November 11, 2015

** Five Star Reviews Were All Written on the Same Day! **

It's funny how all the 5 star reviews were written on the same day. The author, publisher, and their supporters go to great lengths to pump up this ridicu... Continue reading
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bymcdonalde January 29, 2010
i think it is kind of good but the cover is lame becase is black
Teen, 14 years old Written bymiiss lewis April 18, 2011
love this book very understanding, is about things young teens go through every day.
Kid, 9 years old April 24, 2010

What's the story?

In a series of free-verse and other forms of poems, Lonnie, having lost his parents four years ago in a fire when he was seven years old, tells about his life. He is separated from his sister and living in a foster home with an elderly woman, Miss Edna. He loves his sister, but sees her infrequently, as her new parents don't like boys. But Ms. Marcus, his teacher, tells him he has a gift, and encourages him to express his thoughts and feelings in writing.

Is it any good?

Woodson creates a voice that is lyrical, yet seamless and real, and packs a surprising amount of intellectual and emotional material into this short, simple book.

Writing novels in free verse has become quite a trend since Out of the Dust won the Newbery Award. It's a form that can be awkward and even silly if not handled well, and too often the form and subject don't match, making the reader wonder why the author chose to write the story this way. But rarely, if ever, have form and subject matched as perfectly as they do here.

The reason for the poetry is part of the story -- it starts as assignments from a fifth-grade teacher, and then takes on a life of its own as Lonnie discovers his talent -- and his voice. He has suffered great loss, but his life is improving, and his chronicle of past and present is powerfully poignant as he tries out a number of poetic forms, and comments on the art of writing as well as his life and thoughts. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about journals. Do you keep a journal? Why do you think writing down one's thoughts helps people so much?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate