From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 4–6—Readers of Locomotion
(Putnam, 2003) will welcome the chance to revisit Lonnie's world. Written as letters from Lonnie to his sister, Lili, who is in a different foster home, the story's backdrop is the unnamed war in which his foster brother Jenkins is fighting. When war directly affects the family, the 12-year-old begins to hope and pray for peace and to grapple with its meaning. Mature readers will see, also, the steps Lonnie is taking as he moves toward peace with himself and his circumstances. While his confusion, pain, and loss are at times palpable, so too are the moments of comfort, love, and sheer joy. As Lonnie's life becomes more and more interwoven with the lives of his foster brothers, his understanding of the meaning of family deepens and grows. The small details of his days drop readers into his Brooklyn neighborhood, surrounded by characters who seem to walk right off the page. Moving, thought-provoking, and brilliantly executed, this is the rare sequel that lives up to the promise of its predecessor. Serving as bookends to the body of the text are two poems in which Lonnie describes peace in everyday terms. In his words, "Peace is the good stuff/That happens to all of us/Sometimes."—Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, IL
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In a moving companion to the National Book Award Finalist Locomotion (2003), Lonnie, now in sixth grade, speaks in letters to his beloved little sister, Lili. The siblings are still heartbroken about their separation, which followed the death of their parents in a fire. Both kids are now safe in loving foster families in their Brooklyn neighborhood, with friends and supportive teachers at school. After Lonnie’s foster brother returns home injured from war, the contrast between the peaceful home and the tragedy of war feels savage. While this does not have Locomotion’s poetic form, the spare, beautiful prose—both the dialogue and the fast first-person narrative—is as lyrical as the first book. The simple words are packed with longing and are eloquent about the “little things people don’t think real hard about,” little things that reveal the big issues of family, community, displacement, war, and peace. Grades 4-7. --Hazel Rochman