Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Becoming Naomi Leon

Becoming Naomi Leon

4.6 82
by Pam Munoz Ryan
     
 

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The highly anticipated new novel from the Pura Belpre and Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author of ESPERANZA RISING.

Naomi Soledad León Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, & her status at school as "nobody special." But according to Gram

Overview

The highly anticipated new novel from the Pura Belpre and Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author of ESPERANZA RISING.

Naomi Soledad León Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for one. Then there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, & her status at school as "nobody special." But according to Gram's self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. Luckily, Naomi also has her carving to strengthen her spirit. And life with Gram & her little brother, Owen, is happy & peaceful. That is, until their mother reappears after 7 years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions & challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Voice of Youth Advocates
December 1, 2004

Naomi Soledad León lives with her brother and great-grandmother in a trailer in Lemon Tree, California. Her biggest problem is being teased by boys in her fifth grade class. Naomi inherited her father's gift for carving and takes after the Mexican side of the family. Quirky little brother, Owen, is an FLK, funny looking kid, with physical defects. When their mother reappears after a seven-year absence, the children are happy to see her, but it soon becomes apparent that she wants to take Naomi with her so that she and boyfriend Clive can collect child support and Naomi can baby-sit Clive's daughter. After the children's mother starts drinking, Gram, who does not have official custody of the children, obtains temporary guardianship and takes the children to Mexico. Naomi takes part in the traditional La Noche de los Rábanos carving competition, and the children meet their father. After an emotional reunion, the children and their great-grandmother return to California to go to court, where Gram is granted guardianship. Themes of divorce, absent parents, biculturalism, inherited traits, physical disabilities, and triumph over adversity are woven through this novel that features realistic characters, both lovable and despicable, and a believable plot. The list-making, soap-carving main character who loves words and the librarian who provides a sanctuary for Naomi and other troubled children will find favor with librarians and teachers. As in Esperanza Rising (Scholastic, 2000/VOYA December 2000), symbols abound, and readers of all ages will enjoy reading of Naomi's transformation and triumph.-Sherry York.

Booklist
September 15, 2004

Gr. 4-7. Half-Mexican Naomi Soledad, 11, and her younger disabled brother, Owen, have been brought up by their tough, loving great-grandmother in a California trailer park, and they feel at home in the multiracial community. Then their alcoholic mom reappears after seven years with her slimy boyfriend, hoping to take Naomi (not Owen) back and collect the welfare check. Determined not to let that happen, Gram drives the trailer across the border to a barrio in Oaxaca to search for the children's dad at the city's annual Christmas arts festival. In true mythic tradition, Ryan, the author of the award-winning Esperanza Rising (2000), makes Naomi's search for her dad a search for identity, and both are exciting. Mom is demonized, but the other characters are more complex, and the quest is heartbreaking. The dense factual detail about the festival sometimes slows the story, but it's an effective tool for dramatizing Naomi's discovery of her Mexican roots and the artist inside herself. —Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Kirkus
Review Date: SEPTEMBER 01, 2004
STARRED
First-person narrator Naomi León Outlaw and her bright, physically lopsided little brother Owen feel safe in the routines of life in Lemon Grove, California, with great-grandmother Gram. Naomi, a soft-voiced list-maker and word-collector, is also a gifted soap-carver—something inherited, it turns out, from the Mexican father from whom she and Owen were separated as small children. The unexpected arrival of Naomi's long-absent mother throws everything off balance. The troubled young woman's difficulties threaten to overturn the security Gram has worked to provide for Naomi and Owen. With friends' help, Gram takes the children to Oaxaca City to find their father and gain his support in her custody appeal. Here they are immersed in a world of warmth and friendship, where Naomi's longing to meet the father she dimly remembers intensifies. The annual December radish-carving festival gives Naomi's creativity a chance to shine and makes the perfect setting for a reunion. Naomi's matter-of-fact narrative is suffused with her worries and hopes, along with her protective love for her brother and great-

Publishers Weekly
Fifth-grader Naomi's great-grandmother has been a loving guardian for Naomi and her brother since their mother abandoned them seven years before; now she has suddenly reappeared. In a starred review, PW called this "a tender tale about family love and loyalty." Ages 8-12. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Naomi, half Mexican and half Oklahoman, has many names; but by the end of the book she truly grows into the lioness name. A victim of child abuse by her alcoholic mother, Naomi suffered from selective mutism until her great grandmother took her and her deformed brother Owen under her wing. After seven years of proper care and medical attention, the 11-year-old girl and the 8-year-old boy are suddenly visited by their long-absent mother. As Gran might say, the good and the bad of it is that they have a mother again but she is still trouble. Naomi manages to stand up to her mother's slaps and threats this time around and to lay the groundwork for escape. Gran, Mexican-American friends, and the children run away in a trailer to Mexico to seek the kids' Mexican father. Naomi discovers she has always been like her father in looks and in her amazing talent for carving. This becomes apparent in the Night of the Radishes carving contest in Oaxaca, Mexico. A wonderful reunion with her dad gives Naomi the voice to speak out against her mother in court, once Gran and the kids return to the States. Naomi is no longer "nobody special" in the fifth grade, too, when her soap carvings are displayed in the school library. The book treats very serious subjects (child abuse and physical handicaps) with grace and humor. The girl's narration, often in a language of metaphor, both amuses and wrings the heart. 2004, Scholastic Press, Ages 10 to 12.
—Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw lives with younger brother Owen and her fiercely practical Gram in a trailer park in California in this novel by Pam Munoz (Scholastic, 2004). An unpopular fifth grader, she spends lots of time in the library with the other outcasts and the kind librarian. Naomi's talent is carving objects out of soap. After being gone for seven years, her mother shows up one day with a scary boyfriend, Clive. Gram lets the children know that their mother, Terri Lynn, has always been wild and irresponsible. They're worried that she will assert her parental rights and take the children away. Naomi is insecure and particularly susceptible to her mother's attention. Owen is essentially ignored by Terri Lynn because he has some physical deformities, but Clive thinks he could use Owen's deformities to make money gambling. Gram, the neighbors, and the children go to Oaxaca to find the children's father and get him to sign papers making Gram their guardian. Their dad is thrilled to see them, and Naomi learns that her talent for soap carving is inherited from her father. This deeply moving story is expressively and sympathetically narrated by Annie Kozuch. Characterization is excellent and listeners will be happy that Naomi finds confidence, love, and security. A good choice for most collections.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First-person narrator Naomi Len Outlaw and her bright, physically lopsided little brother Owen feel safe in the routines of life in Lemon Grove, California, with great-grandmother Gram. Naomi, a soft-voiced list-maker and word-collector, is also a gifted soap-carver-something inherited, it turns out, from the Mexican father from whom she and Owen were separated as small children. The unexpected arrival of Naomi's long-absent mother throws everything off balance. The troubled young woman's difficulties threaten to overturn the security Gram has worked to provide for Naomi and Owen. With friends' help, Gram takes the children to Oaxaca City to find their father and gain his support in her custody appeal. Here they are immersed in a world of warmth and friendship, where Naomi's longing to meet the father she dimly remembers intensifies. The annual December radish-carving festival gives Naomi's creativity a chance to shine and makes the perfect setting for a reunion. Naomi's matter-of-fact narrative is suffused with her worries and hopes, along with her protective love for her brother and great-grandmother. Ryan's sure-handed storytelling and affection for her characters convey a clear sense of Naomi's triumph, as she becomes "who I was meant to be." (Fiction. 10-14)First printing of 50,000

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439269698
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
246
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.97(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books which have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. Pam lives near San Diego. You can visit her at www.pammunozryan.com.

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Becoming Naomi Leon (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
moni78 More than 1 year ago
Pam Munoz Ryan tells the story of a young girl named Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw and her brother Owen, who were abandoned by their mother and left in the care of their great-grandmother, "Gram." Naomi is a girl who feels like an outsider, and uses carving as a form of expression and Owen is a physically challenged boy who wears tape as a form of protection and gets bullied. After years of no contact with their mother, she returns and feelings of confusion, excitement, and anxiety fill the minds of Naomi and Owen. After learning of their mother's alcohol addiction, the children realize the intentions of their mother is to take Naomi away and leave Owen behind. Gram quickly decides to take the children to Mexico to find their father for help. Through this ordeal Naomi learns who she really is and finds her voice. This is a common story known to society, it deals with alcoholism, bullying, uncertainty of identity and love. This is a book that once you begin to read, you do not want to put down. This is book is definitely one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Becoming Naomi Leon is a contemporary realistic fiction that is easy for youngers to identify with. Naomi the main character and her bother Owen's live in a pleasant and quiet trailer park with their great grandmother. After missing for seven years their mother, Skyla, re-appears to stir up their lives. Curious about their mother and their past the children start asking all sorts of questions. Their gram tries to ease the questions by answering and telling them the truth. Their mother tries to be a good mother and petition custodial rights but she lets the children down time after time. With this book children can identify in many ways with Naomi. Weather they have some similar problems like the ones Naomi has or the way she is tease at school. I don't read many chapter books but this book kept me interested in every chapter. I kept on reading because I wanted to know how and with whom the children would end up.
BM25 More than 1 year ago
The book Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan is great book for students from 5th to the 12 grade. This book would fall under the Contemporary Realistic Fiction genre and could be especially appealing and interesting for the Mexican American culture. This book has received the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Childers Book Award. The story is very well put every character seems to play a very important role for the process and conclusion of the story. Naomi and Owen Leon Outlaw the main characters have lived with their great grandmother since they were very young. Their mother a troubled lady had abandoned them because she felt she needed to get on with her life and their father had also been out of the picture for most of their life. After a long time the mother decides to come with intentions of taking Naomi with her. In this journey Naomi, Owen, Gram, and some of the other characters go out of their way to make such a thing impossible. So they travel into Mexico with the hope of finding their father and it is here that Naomi learns more about herself and her Mexican culture. The book is very interesting and somewhat emotional it is amazing and moving to even think how Naomi and Owen have gone through such events in their life. It could be very related and equal with the life of any other child whose parents have split up or gone through a rough patch.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Naomi Soledad León Outlaw is a very soft-spoken and timid young girl. She is very good at making lists, carving animals out of bars of soap and.worrying. Her greatest worry, for the moment, is her name; the boys in class her love to tease her about her last name, Outlaw. Little did she know, though, that soon, very soon, she would learn about her true Mexican heritage and live up to her name, León, in more ways than one. I felt I connected with these characters (the good ones: Naomi, Gram, Owen, Fabiola, Bernardo, and Santiago) and I felt very protective over Naomi and Owen. I was always worried whenever Skyla was around, even before she showed her true colors. I could tell what kind of person she was and sided with Gram; I did not think Skyla should have been around those poor children. They had no idea who she was when she dropped in on them out of the blue and she fully expected them to not only know her, but to fulfill her every expectation. Of course any child who longed for a mother for so many years would grasp at any chance to be close to their mother. Naturally, they would not know to be cautious, especially when they had been romanticizing the ideal mother figure and wanting to believe their mother was capable of that idealness. I am glad that in the end, Skyla and Clive did not get their way, but disappointed because I felt they needed further punishment for what they had done, but unfortunately, that is how life goes sometimes. One of my favorite quotes in Becoming Naomi León is located at the very end: "I had also found my father, who had loved me for a long time without being nearby. How many others were walking around and not even knowing that someone far away cared for them? Imagine all that love floating in the air, waiting to land on someone's life!" (Ryan, p. 245). Ryan makes the reader believe a little girl is telling this tale, and to imagine a young girl speak with such depth and wisdom truly touched my heart. Ryan shows the maturity and wisdom a little girl gains through trials and turmoil. This is one thing I love about this novel - Naomi develops into a confident young lady as she learns of her heritage and matures as she finally confronts the bad in her life, gaining her true voice as the result. This quote is definitely food for thought. I believe this book is wonderful for older children. Becoming Naomi León could possibly aid as an eye-opener to reality - the fact that life just simply isn't rosy and circumstances such as what Naomi goes through really do happen to some children. I hope children of better home lives than Naomi and Owen are grateful for what they have after reading this. I absolutely love this book and will soon be reading it again when I have the extra time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading this book in middle school in my Language Arts class and so far I am loving it, Skyla is so selfish though but I think she turned like that since she was traumatized because her parents died in a car accident  when she was a teen sometimes I feel like punching her or slapping her because she is a mean person and a bad mother.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Great book ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm only in chapter three, but, wow, I'm loving it even though it's recommended for 4-7 graders, and I'm a former seventh grade, two months from official eighth grade status girl. But, wow. I already love Naomi, Gram, and Owen, and Skyla's already making me think of a selfish version of the bikers in Teen Beach Movie, especially Giggles and Chee Chee. But wow, I can't wait to finish it! BTW, I got this for less than a dollar at the dollar store. Add that to Naomi's list of good and bad things all rolled into one!
Natalie_Carlo More than 1 year ago
So awesome and sad. But, mostly so interesting and intense. Read it in 4th grade and just remember it was one of the best books I've ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading this book in school and i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a real copy of this book. I have read it a lot of times and i never get tired of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.we read this in class and I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so alsomw e
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to read this for middle school i have read the sameple it was super good and i want to read more so im goingnto buy the book before summer ends
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that we read in my advanced reading class in school. It was my FAVORITE one of all! so good! I COULD NOT STOP READING
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Noami Leon is about a little girl and her bother "Owen" who were abanded by their abusive, alcoholic mother "skyla." The children were taken in by their grandma into a caring, and loving home in a trailer park. Noami and her brother Owen are teased at school by their classmates because of their given name Outlaw. Owen is also teased because of his disibility, that he was born with. Years later her mother, Skyla comes back into their lifes trying to take Noami but not Owen. Grams, which is their grandmother, picks up and leaves in search of their father to help with the custody battle, in Mexico, where Noami becomes involved with her father and other positive people, she returned as a brave littel girl, who now has a voice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Becoming Naomi Leon is the story of a young girl who is learning to find her way in the world with the help of her nontraditional family. In this story, Naomi hasn't had the easiest time. She has a brother with physical disabilities, she is constantly worrying, and her secondhand clothes and quiet nature make it difficult for her to find friends at school. Despite all this, she has a supportive family who loves her. In addition to her brother, she lives with her great grandmother in a small trailer in the Avacado Acres Trailer Rancho. Her next door neighbors, Fabiola and Bernardo, also are a part of Naomi's unofficial family. One day, Naomi's life changes drastically when her mother shows up without warning after a seven year absence. Naoimi's life becomes even more confused when she has to try to balance the life she has with her trailer park family, with the life her mother wants to create for her in Las Vegas. Naomi must go on a journey of self-discovery in order to understand who she really is and the true meaning of family. This book deals with issues of family, heritage and self-discovery. In Naomi, readers find a quiet protagonist who is easy to relate to. Author Pam Munoz Ryan takes us along on Naomi's journey and gets the reader to really root for the character and her family. Nominated for a Pura Belpre Award, this book also explores Naomi's half Mexican heritage and how she draws strength from her family history and culture. I would strongly recommend this book for and child who is struggling to find themselves or who needs to find balance between two conflicting identities.
HMatthew More than 1 year ago
Becoming Naomi Leon is a powerful story about a young girl who is trying to find herself. Her and her brother were abandoned at a young age and dropped off at their great-grandmothers house, who has been caring for them as her own ever since. Naomi isn't exactly the most popular girl in school butt she and her brother Owen were perfectly content living at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho in Lemon Tree, California, with Gram until one day their mother finally returns and sends their world up-side down. After years of wondering what their parents were like Naomi and Owen can't help but be excited that their mother Skyla has come back into their lives and might actually want to be a part of them. Yet this feeling slowly fades as Skyla shows her true colors, this is when the reader learns that all these years away Skyla spent in and out of rehab and half way houses for alcoholism. Skyla is determined to take Naomi with her to Las Vegas where she plans to move with her boyfriend Clive and his daughter and leave Owen, but Gram will not have it. She decides to take Naomi and Owen to Mexico to find their real father, hoping he can help in granting Gram full rights to the kids. Fearing that she will have to leave everything she has come to know and love Naomi searches for her father and at the same time for her identity. This story about a young girl finding out who she really is relates to many people of all ages, it is a compelling story, and an enjoyable read.
JMIKELABS More than 1 year ago
This Pura Belpre Honor Book by Pam Munoz Ryan "Becoming Naomi Leon" is an amazing story about a little girl named Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw and her brother Owen. They live with there grandmother and they call her "Gram". Naomi and Owens mother Terri left them with Gram when they were very little. Terri later changed her name to Skyla. She has an alcohol addiction and their father lives in Mexico and has not had any contact with them. When Skyla returns, she tries to act like nothing had happened as if she hadn't abandoned her children. Gram is very leary of her intentions of coming back. Skyla shows a great deal of interest in Naomi but not Owen. Owen is a special needs child with a very high IQ. Their mother continues to drink but makes tons of excuses for doing so. Naomi loves to carve things out of soap. When they finally find Santiago, which is their father, Naomi learns that he carves things out of wood. She loves the fact that they have something in common. Gram was granted custody of the children and they promised to visit their father every Christmas. This is a very intense and emtional book. It has a wonderful story line. Naomi finally speaks up for herself and Owen realizes that he is different for a reason. He's very smart and he embraces that. These issues that the children deal with throughout the story are everyday issues for a lot of children. Once you start reading, you won't want to stop.
ShelbyCrum More than 1 year ago
Becoming Naomi Leon is a wonderfully written book about two children living with their great-grandmother because of events that happened with their parents. They are propelled on an adventure to find their father in México do to their estranged mother walking back into their lives and threatening to disrupt the life that they are accustomed to and love. It is a wonderful book that people of all ages can enjoy reading. It is a book that everyone can enjoy, even if it is read to you. It certainly deserved to be recognized.
The_smart_warriors_reader More than 1 year ago
This book is so awesome! I read it the year it came out. I read it again very recently and still loved it. Pam Muñoz Ryan is one of the best authors ever. I hope she writes more books. I was in suspense the whole book-what would happen? I loved it. I really cannot say a bad thing about it. I can even relate to Naomi in a way. It's more of a book for girls ages 8-13. Read it please!