Children's Book Reivew: Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Synopsis:  Twelve year old, Lonnie Collins Motion, and his sister Lili are placed into separate foster homes after their parents are killed in a fire.  Lonnie tasks himself with being the "rememberer" and decides to write his sister letters to help them remember what happens while they are apart.  The entire book is in letter format and each letter is written to Lili from Lonnie (aka Locomotion).  The letters are bittersweet as Lonnie writes about the good times he and Lili had with their biological family as well as how much they both love their new foster families.  The book addresses important issues such as loss, family, and peace through Lonnie's insightful reflections about the world around him. 

My Thoughts: This is the second Jacqueline Woodson book I have read (the first being Feathers) and I've decided that I need to read more of her work.  Peace, Locomotion was short but oh, so sweet and Woodson's writing is beautiful.  I feel like she has the ability to get inside each of her characters and really bring them to life. While this is a great read for anyone (young or old), it would be especially appropriate for children who have experienced loss or are in foster care.

Recommended for Grades 4-7.  

Image taken from http://www.jacquelinewoodson.com/mg.shtml.


Adolescent Lit. Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The first books I read by Maggie Steifvater were The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy.   I really enjoyed them and even had the opportunity to meet Maggie at the ALA conference  in 2011.  At this conference she was handing out (and signing) free copies of The Scorpio Races.  I have been meaning to pick it up and read it for some time now, but just haven't had the chance.  I was further motivated to read it when Maggie won a 2011 Printz Honor Award for the book.  It definitely deserved the award.  I love how she develops her characters and how she creates the setting of the island of Thisby.  As I was reading, I kept thinking that I would really like to visit Thisby only to have to remind myself that it does not exist.     

In this award winning novel, Maggie Stiefvater takes readers to the fictional island of Thisby where flesh eating water horses, better known as capaill uisce, inhabit the surrounding waters.  Thisby is home of the annual Scorpio Races where islanders attempt to train and race the capaill uisce and tourists travel from all around to see the race.

Kate "Puck" Connolly lives with her two brothers, Gabe and Finn.  Their parents were killed by a capaill uisce and they were left to take care of one another.  Gabe, Puck's older brother, decides that he can no longer stand to live on the island of Thisby, and makes plans to move to the mainland.  In an attempt to stop him Puck decides that she will race in the Scorpio Races, but cannot bear to ride one of the capaill uisce that killed her parents.  She instead decides to ride her land mare, Dove.  

Sean Kendrick, four time winner of the Scorpio Races, longs to be free of his current employer and owner of most of the island, Benjamin Malvern.  Malvern refuses to sell Sean the capaill uisce, Corr, that once belonged to his father.  But this year, Malvern has agreed to sell Corr to him if he wins the race.  

Who will win the Scorpio Races?  A large cash prize awaits whomever crosses the finish line first.  Both Puck and Sean need the money, but someone will come back empty handed.

Recommended for Ages 13+.  

Image from http://maggiestiefvater.com/the-scorpio-races/