Locomotion is a brilliantly poignant story of tragedy, hope and healing from the perspective of 11-year-old Lonnie C. Motion (aka Locomotion), an orphaned boy who is learning how to navigate through the grief of losing his parents, being separated from his sister, and using poetry as a resource to showcase his thoughts and emotions.
The book ebbs and flows in its language and plot development, and as you get deeper into the book, a variety of things are revealed therefore giving the reader a better image of the characters and their secrets, as well as the urban environment in which they live.
Woodson has the ability to make your heart ache with a single sentence, and a unique sense of poetry that despite its "unconventional" nature (the majority of the poetry doesn't rhyme, etc.) it all works beautifully, each poem melting into the next.
Lonnie's relationship with his teacher, Ms. Marcus, shares the remarkable bond between teacher and student that isn't often depicted in books, particularly those written for young adults.
She changes his view of poetry through her gentle yet encouraging method of teaching, and she becomes almost like a maternal figure in Lonnie's creative life. The book manipulates the idea of the generic "family" upbringing, and instead Lonnie learns, grows and looks up to a variety of people the same way that a child does to their parents or siblings. ?
I found this book to be a very thought-provoking read, and recommend it for ages 10 and up.