Locomotion ISBN: 9780141316086
Published by Puffin, 2003
Lonnie Collins Motion was given his name by his Mama because he has rhythm, and she wants to be able to call him 'Locomotion'. He is also a poet, and his poems - sometimes Haiku or letters, but usually free verse - are moving, sad, and ultimately hopeful. He and his younger sister Lili are alone in the world, their parents having died in a fire, and they must live separately with different foster parents. The poems are all about Lonnie's state of mind - very specific memories of his mum and dad, his relationship to his foster mother and to his teacher, who encourages his writing. Incidents at school, a new boy, a sick friend, various writing projects, all are swept into Lonnie's consciousness and impinge on his emotions. The book moves from intense sadness to gradual acceptance and even joy, and Lonnie's questions about God and the Bible come into the story too. Set in New York, the book has a lyrical African American voice. Superb writing.