I was surprised when I saw this on the arc shelf at school. I hadn't know that Jacqueline Woodson was writing a sequel to Locomotion, and I was quite delighted to pick it up.
Lonnie is writing letters to his sister Lili. They are at separate foster homes, and each is quite happy. Lonnie, however, is torn. He pretty much loves Miss Edna. She's been taking care of him, and her son Rodney is like a brother to him. Rodney even calls Lonnie his little brother. But when Lonnie's best friend Clyde tells Lonnie "Your mama's real strict" (33), Lonnie has to point out that Miss Edna is only his foster mama. Lonnie does not want to chance forgetting his parents. Clyde then relates his own experiences with Mamas, and how Mamas can come and go for lots of different reasons.
To complicate Lonnie's life a little bit more, Miss Edna's other son Jenkins is over in the war. Jenkins was never a fighter, Miss Edna explains to Lonnie, but the army said they'd pay for an education if Jenkins signed up for the reserves, and the offer was too good to refuse.
When tragedy strikes, Lonnie knows that his foster home is about to change forever.
Change is an overarching theme in Peace, Locomotion. Changes in family, homes, friends, teachers. Readers will be on the edge of tears, and not simply for content. Jacqueline Woodson is a master of language, and no words seem wasted. Each seems like it was considered and placed "just so". The format pulls readers in, and the one sided nature of the letters does not feel isolating at all(readers only see letters from Lonnie). Woodson has quite a bit to say about teachers and teaching with the juxtaposition of Ms. Marcus, Ms. Cooper, and Miss Alina. I only hope that readers will not have too many Ms. Coopers in their lives!
This is one of those special books that I feel like I will be returning to again and again.
On shelves later this month.