I saw the trailer for the movie, Dear John, on TV a while back and it caught my fleeting interest because it seemed like the story had some correspondence between a soldier and the girl back home during wartime. But it was one of our wars and they weren’t using email or Skype. Blame it on sleep deprivation or wishful thinking but when I saw the book that the movie is based on at the bookstore I bought it, without so much as cracking the cover to see if there were any letters inside. This book was not what I had hoped. There is one letter in it, and the rest is the boring schmaltz of the Nicholas Sparks mileau, of which I had been previously ignorant. I kind of wish I had remained so.
So you can imagine the pleasure I felt upon opening up a book in the children’s section of the library called Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson and finding an entire story made up of letters. “Dear John” was dull compared to 12 year old Lonnie’s letters to his little sister Lily while they are living in separate foster care families in Brooklyn. After the death of their parents, Lonnie, aka Locomotion, tries to stay connected to his little sister by writing letters to her and being “the rememberer” of the family while they are apart. In the process he shares with her his thoughts about family, friendship, war, and peace. The story is beautiful and I strongly recommend it for middle school age kids. Or people like me who like to read letters.
Do you have any favorite books that include letters?