Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

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Authors: Jacqueline Woodson

Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
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(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
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Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in the United States of America by G. P. Putnam’s Sons,
a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003
Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2004
    Copyright © Jacqueline Woodson, 2003
    All rights reserved

Woodson, Jacqueline.
Locomotion / Jacqueline Woodson.
p. cm.
Summary: In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his
life after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister,
living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school.
    eISBN : 978-1-440-69588-9
    1. African American boys—Juvenile poetry. 2. Brothers and sisters—Juvenile poetry.
3. Foster home care—Juvenile poetry. 4. Orphans—Juvenile poetry. 5. Schools—Juvenile
poetry. 6. Children’s poetry, American. [1. Brothers and sisters—Poetry.
2. African Americans—Poetry. 3. Foster home care—Poetry. 4. Orphans—Poetry.
5. Schools—Poetry. 6. American Poetry.] I. Title.
PS3573.O64524 L’.54—dc21 2002069779




Name all the people
You’re always thinking about
People are poems.
    â€”Lonnie C. Motion

    This whole book’s a poem ’cause every time I try to
tell the whole story my mind goes Be quiet!
Only it’s not my mind’s voice,
it’s Miss Edna’s over and over and over
Be quiet!
    I’m not a really loud kid, I swear. I’m just me and
sometimes I maybe make a little bit of noise.
If I was a grown-up maybe Miss Edna
wouldn’t always be telling me to be quiet
but I’m eleven and maybe eleven’s just noisy.
    Maybe twelve’s quieter.
    But when Miss Edna’s voice comes on, the ideas in my
head go out like a candle and all you see left is this little
string of smoke that disappears real quick
before I even have a chance to find out
what it’s trying to say.
    So this whole book’s a poem because poetry’s short and

this whole book’s a poem ’cause Ms. Marcus says
write it down before it leaves your brain.
I tell her about the smoke and she says
Good, Lonnie, write that.
Not a whole lot of people be saying Good, Lonnie to me
so I write the string-of-smoke thing down real fast.
Ms. Marcus says We’ll worry about line breaks later.
    Write fast, Lonnie, Ms. Marcus says.
And I’m thinking Yeah, I better write fast before Miss
Edna’s voice comes on and blows my candle idea out.

    At night sometimes after Miss Edna goes to bed I go
up on the roof
Sometimes I sit counting the stars
Maybe one is my mama and
another one is my daddy And maybe that’s why
sometimes they flicker a bit
I mean the stars flicker

    Ms. Marcus
line breaks help
us figure out
what matters
to the poet
Don’t jumble your ideas
Ms. Marcus says
Every line
should count.

    Once when we was real
I was

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