Becoming Naomi Leon

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Hardcover, 2004



Local notes

Fic Rya




Scholastic Press (2004), Edition: First Edition, 246 pages. $16.95.


When Naomi's absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi runs away to Mexico with her great-grandmother and younger brother in search of her father.

Original language


Physical description

246 p.; 8.32 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member jnfalvey
11-year-old Naomi Leon is doing just fine: though she is "nobody special" at school, she has a wonderful refuge with other forgotten kids in the school library, a wonderful little brother who always seems to see the bright side of things, and a loving great-grandmother to look after them both. Then
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one day the children's mother reappears in their lives. Terri Lynn (now called Sklya) comes in like a whirlwind, and it is soon very apparent that she is bent more on the destruction of the family than on reuniting it.

This is a wonderful story. Naomi is a completely engaging character, and readers will quickly identify with her and her plight. Owen, Naomi's disabled younger brother, is a great character in his own right without any hint of stereotype. As Naomi and Owen try to deal with their mother's attempts to break up their family (she wants Naomi to move to Las Vegas with her and her new boyfriend), the reader will be on the edge of their seat.

"Even though my life was a fog of the good and the bad, one thing was clear as a vinegar-shined window in my mind. I belonged with Gram and Owen. I wanted no part of living with Skyla, Clive, and Sapphire. If finding my father was my only hope, then I was going to latch on to every positive, forward-thinking, universe-tilting notion to fulfill that prophecy."
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LibraryThing member GennaP5
Becoming Naomi Leon is about a girl who lives with her brother and great-grandmother. After seven years Skyla Naomi's Mother comes to reconnect with her children. Skyla is not the best Mother in the world and wants to take Naomi to live with her in Las Vegas. Naomi has to find a way so she can
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still live with her family.

This book is a fairly easy book to read. It keeps you interested and it is probably a quick read depending on the reader.
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LibraryThing member hetrickm
In the classroom there are always children who are dealing with tremendous adversity. This book can touch the hearts of many as it deals with: A physically challenged child, a parent who hasn't had anything to do with her child for over 7 years. A father who has not been allowed to see his children
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and is reunited, a great-grandmother who will go to the ends of the earth to protect her grandbabies. I couldn't wait to get back into this book everyday. In the classroom the book is riddled with figures of speech which is a fourth grade concept that we hit every September.
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LibraryThing member beckytillett
Naomi has been abandoned by her parents and lives with her little brother and grandmother in a trailer park near an avocado orchard. Throughout the course of the story, Naomi begins to learn about her past and herself. A trip to Mexico and some disheartening encounters with her mother help Naomi
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shed her nervous shell and develop into the strong young lady she was meant to be.

This is one of the best read alouds I have read. Students literally clap when the story is over. I think they can all see pieces of themselves in Naomi as she grows and begins to stand up for what she believes in. They learn to respect all that she has been through.
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LibraryThing member 1derlys
This story about a brother and sister being raised by great Grandma supports nontraditional families. It also supports that sometimes it is best not to live with alcoholic parents or parent that are abusive. In the smallest ways we can find comfort in the things we do, like soap carving , which
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Naomi is good at and when she finds her father finds out it is a family tradition. Being brave and standing up for yourself can make you feel good about yourself and make you stronger.
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LibraryThing member MWFforJ757

A young girl, Naomi Soledad León Outlaw, learns the true nature of family and what it means to speak up for what, and who, you really believe in. Though her life is turned upside down by the return of her mother after seven long years, she relies on the love of her Gram, her younger brother
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Owen, and her long-lost father to pull her through.

This book speaks of the challenge of speaking up and making a difference, especially in the midst of change. It is also a wonderful cultural study, as Naomi learns about Mexico, the country of her father, and embraces the rich paternal traditions of which she had been unaware. Naomi grows from a shy girl considered to be “nobody special,” into a confident León (lion,) as shown through her own narration of the book.

Awards: Pura Belpré Honor (Narrative, 2006)
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
This coming of age book is a gem. It is well written and thought provoking.

Abandoned by her mother, Naomi and her brother live with their great grandmother in a tiny trailer located in Lemon Tree, California.

Granny is a strong, common sense, loving woman who, to her immense credit, assumed the
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responsibility of two bi-cultural children who came to her severely emotionally fragile.

Naomi is quiet and shy. Because of a birth defect, Owen has the moniker of "funny looking kid." Owen's shirts are plastered with tape which he uses as a security blanket to basically hold himself together. Naomi obsessively compiles lists and carves intricate animals from soap.

Life is good until near-do-well, irresponsible mommy dearest comes knocking on the door to claim only one of the two children.

Nasty boyfriend follows behind to simply get the welfare money that might come his way from Naomi.

This set of critters climb out from under a rock to take advantage of a grandmother who sacrificed and two children who are already struggling.

Like many juvenile and/or young adult books, this one deals with serious topics. Unlike some real-life struggles wherein neglectful parents show up years later to emotionally harm once again, the story has a happy ending.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member Annod
I liked this book better than Esperanza Rising.
LibraryThing member laurieleewalsh
Naomi Leon is one of my favorite characters in a book - ever. She's strong, spunky and yet full of hope. She and her little brother Own live with their gram in a trailer park until their absentee mother shows up. Her motives are not pure - she wants Naomi for the money that she can get for her
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being a dependent . . . she does not want Owen who has physical disabilities.

Gram and her friends end up making a hasty trip to Mexico to find Naomi and Owen's father. Naomi is a carver - a skill that she evidently inherited from her father who shows up ever year at the radish carving festival.

Awesome story! One of my favorites ever.
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LibraryThing member JanelleVeith
Naomi realizes that she likes who she is after finding her father in Mexico. This is a heartfelt story that would appeal to middle school girls. It deals with family problems and Mexican Americans.
LibraryThing member kmcgiverin05
This was a truly impressionable book that anyone could relate to. I would recommend it for the upper intermediate grades.
LibraryThing member frazrat
I love all of Pam Munoz Ryan's books. This one is equally endearing. This story is about survival, heartache, family, heritage and finding ones own personal strengths. Naomi and her brother have to go into hiding after their mother (who had abandoned them many years before) comes back into their
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lives. (not in a positive way). I love the cultural experience of Oaxaca and the way the family comes together to protect the children.
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LibraryThing member wturnbull06
This novel was a good example of realistic fiction because it had good detail about the thing Naomi and her physically disabled brother went though after meeting there real mom and not wanting to go with her.
LibraryThing member rfewell
Naomi lives in a trailer with her Gram and her little brother. They are happy and content in their lives. Then, Naomi's mom comes back into their lives... Naomi begins a search to find out who she is.
LibraryThing member meggyweg
This book was about a difficult subject -- a custody battle between a caring great-grandmother and a seriously messed up mother -- but the author handled it delicately enough to suit late elementary aged children. None of the adults in the story are actually evil, only flawed, and the protagonist,
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Naomi, is a sweet and basically ordinary girl. I was very satisfied with this book, particularly its depiction of Mexican culture.
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LibraryThing member CatheOlson
Naomi lives with her little brother Owen and her great grandmother in a trailer park in Lemon Tree, California. Naomi doesn’t have many friends. It might be because her great grandmother makes Naomi’s clothes out of the same polyester fabric that she makes her own clothes. It might be because
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her brother looks “different” and always has strips of cellophane tape stuck to his clothes and freaks out if anyone tries to take them off. Or it might be because she has trouble speaking loud enough for anyone to hear her. But just when she makes a friend and things seem to be going all right, her mother who abandoned them seven years ago comes back and wants to take Naomi away from her Great Grandmother and her little brother. Will her father living in Mexico help her? Can she even find him? And most of all, will Naomi be able to speak up to stand up for herself?
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LibraryThing member owensmj
Naomi Soledad and her younger disabled brother's lives are turned inside out when their delinquent mother returns and threatens to steal Naomi away. Their great-grandmother takes them away to Mexico to meet their father and wait for the custody hearing to determine the children's future.
I was
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impressed by how this book simultaneously created realistic, believable characters and explored Mexican culture. I found myself really liking characters like Naomi and Owen and despising her mother and her boyfriend.
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LibraryThing member mrsdwilliams
Naomi and her little brother live with their grandmother. When their mother drifts back into their lives with a very unpleasant boyfriend, the children avoid her by visiting relatives in Mexico. Once there, they search for Naomi's father, hoping that he will sign custody over to Naomi's
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grandmother. Meeting her family helps Naomi learn more about why she is the way she is and to learn to celebrate her rich heritage.

Keep some kleenex handy.
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LibraryThing member RoseMarion
Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw is an 11 year old girl who has lived alot for her young life. She is part Mexican/part American, and she lives with her great grandma and younger disabled brother Owen in a trailer in Lemon Tree, CA. Their neighbors Fabiola and Bernado and Mrs. Maloney round out the
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Naomi loves to make lists and carve animals out of soap. She is good friends with her school librarian Mr. Marble. While Naomi isn't popular at school, she does have one good friend named Blanca...another Mexican girl. Naomi knows life could be better, but she is content living with her loving Gram and her sweet little brother Owen.

One day her mother Terri Lynn (now called Skyla) comes to visit Naomi and Owen, and their lives are never the same. At first, Naomi is thrilled about meeting the mother who left her and Owen with Gram when Naomi was 4 and Owen was 1. However, as time passes Naomi is awakened to all that Skyla is as a person: unstable, selfish, and immature. Unfortunately Skyla and her new unfriendly boyfriend, Clive, want to take Naomi to live in Las Vegas. Naomi is horrified, and begs her Gram to keep her safe. Her Gram says she will go to the ends of the earth to protect her, and she does. The whole family including the neighbors Fabiola and Bernado end up in Mexico to find the children's father. They need his help to get legal custody of the children for Gram.

In Mexico, Naomi is able to learn about herself and her family. She finds peace and stability. She even competes in the famous Mexican carving festival La Noche de los Rabanos. She also finds her long lost father who is the parent for whom she always longed.

The story ends happily with Gram getting custody of the children and a new relationship developing between them and their father Santiago. Most importantly, the conclusion shows the maturity and self-assurance of Naomi as a person.

Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan is a heartfelt and feel good novel. I recommend it to all who enjoy good winning out in the end!
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LibraryThing member sara_k
A great story told well! Naomi lives with her brother and grandmother in a trailer park. Naomi's mother abandoned them and they do not know about their father. When their mother shows up to claim Naomi (but not her brother who has special needs) the family travels to Mexico to find her father and
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his family. Naomi learns a lot about her father's family and sees their influences and talents in herself. Will she find enough support and strength to stand up to her lying mother?
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LibraryThing member clstone
Naomi lives in Lemon Tree, CA with her Gram and little brother Owen in a trailer park. Naomi is a quiet little girl that keeps lists in her notebook of things from "interesting words" to "things I saw on the way to school". Although Naomi and Owen's life with Gram seems normal, when their mother
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shows up after being gone for seven years, Naomi faces challenges she never knew she would have to. Naomi soon realizes that she doesn't want to be the quiet girl anymore and wants to take control of her life. This story is a wonderful tale of a girl coming into her own and loving who she is at the end.
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
Naomi and Owen Soledad Leon Outlaw were abandoned by their mother seven years ago and have been raised by their great-grandmother in a trailer park in Lemon Tree, California ever since. They haven’t seen or heard from their Mexican father in those seven years either. But when their mother
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unexpectedly reappears in their life one night, threatening to take Naomi away with her, the children, their great-grandmother, and two helpful neighbors cross the border to Mexico, hoping the children’s father will support their case that the children must remain together and with their great-grandmother. Along the way, Naomi learns about her heritage, her family, and herself. Some of the elements of this story (abandoned children, fear of being taken from guardian, etc.) may be a bit frightening for some young readers, but I think this is worthy book for tackling these less than warm-and-fuzzy issues. The writing style flows smoothly and easily, so the book is accessible to young readers, and the book teaches some Spanish words here and there as an added bonus.
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LibraryThing member jessica.kohout
Fifth grader Naomi Leon Outlaw receives a visit from her estranged birth mother who seeks to take Naomi away from her grandmother to live with her and her new boyfriend. In order to protect Naomi, Gram takes the family to Mexico where Naomi learns more about her heritage, her father, and what it
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means to be a Leon, or lion.
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LibraryThing member catieanderson4
This was an excellent book. I was not expecting this to be as good as it was but I could not put it down. I felt really bad for Naomi for a while but was very happy that everything turned out well. I would absolutely reccommend this book to my children if I was teaching fifth grade but probably not
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any younger. This was an awesome book.
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LibraryThing member dianaking
This book is about a two children that are abandoned by their mother and raised by their great-grandmother. Naomi is the young girl whose abandonment by her mother has turned her into a quiet, withheld little girl. Naomi and her little brother, Owen, look forward to seeing their mother and when
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this happens the event leads to happy and sad events in her life. After these significant events in her life, Naomi becomes an outspoken little girl. Her friend calls her Naomi the lion.
I thought this book was very appealing. I would recommend this book to any pre-teen reader. As true of contemporary realistic literature this book exposes children to experiences that ordinary would not face. The author, Pam Munoz Ryan, experienced the festival mentioned in the story that occurs every year in Oaxaca, Mexico.
In the classroom, the students will be asked to point realistic life issues that make this story believable. Write down at least two issues and why.
Another classroom lesson, I would ask the students to find a map of the travel Naomi and her family took to find her father. The research can be done at the library or at home, map should be printed and the route highlighted. Make should that your map is labeled.
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(305 ratings; 4.1)
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