Locomotion, I added it to the Amazon wishlist for my former school in The Bahamas. This is a book that the students there will adore (feel free to donate it, wink wink).
Lonnie Motion, better known as Locomotion, has experienced a lot of upheaval in his eleven years. After his parents' died in a fire, Lonnie and his sister were passed around until they were finally placed in two separate foster homes. Written as poems, Jacqueline Woodson explores Lonnie's feelings about his family, classmates, religion, and other parts of life.
As a teacher, there's something so special about novels in verse that are written from the perspective of a student learning about poetry. Sharon Creech did it in Love That Dog and Hate That Cat and Woodson does it so well here, which dispels the question of how many young boys write poetry. Not enough! My students' feelings are perfectly summed up in "Poetry Poem":
"You don't just get to write a poem once
You gotta write it over and over and over
until it feels real good to you
And sometimes it does
and sometimes it doesn't
That's what's really great
and really stupid
Insight like this makes Locomotion a surefire addition to my classroom library. Even better, there is a sequel called Peace, Locomotion.