Becoming Naomi Leon

Becoming Naomi Leon

by Pam Munoz Ryan


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A Pura Belpré Honor Book

"Engrossing." — The New York Times

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780439269971
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/28/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 51,064
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x (d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, as well as the NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Léon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and two Américas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Ryan lives near San Diego, CA with her family.

Table of Contents

A rabble of yesterdays1
1A paddling of ducks3
2A skulk of foxes16
3A lamentation of swans26
4A memory of elephants34
5A charm of hummingbirds43
6A school of fish52
7An unkindness of ravens61
8A burden of mules75
9A shiver of sharks88
10A schizophrenia of hawks107
11A flight of swallows123
A passel of todays137
12A drey of squirrels139
13A sleuth of bears154
14A leap of leopards167
15A piteousness of doves178
16A team of horses189
17An exaltation of starlings201
18A pride of lions211
19A cry of hounds218
20A crash of hippopotami227
21A brood of chicks241
A murmuration of tomorrows244

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Becoming Naomi Leon (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 105 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.
cacv78 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ryan, Pam Munoz. (2004) Becoming Naomi Leon. New York: Scholastic Press.This story is about a girl named Naomi. She lives with her Gram and her little brother Owen, who has a physical handicap. Naomi's mother Skyla abandoned them 7 years ago and has now returned to try and be a part of their lives. But Naomi sees things differently and doesn't want her mother coming around and disrupting the family that she has with Gram and Owen. Naomi is also a talented soap carver- a talent that she probably inherited from her father who is Mexican and in Oaxaca where he is from, they have a yearly soap carving competition. She travels there in search of him and learns a lot about herself along the way.This book honestly portrays the realities of a girls life. It shows how a girl handles problems, like the search for her father and the abandonment of her mother, just like many kids today do. The author is part Mexican and she tries to make sure the culture is portrayed accurately.
Omrythea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A powerful story! Must-read!
lorinhigashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Naomi Leon not only has to deal with an unconventional family life - living with her grandmother after her mother abandons her and never having met her father, she also has to learn to embrace herself as being bi-racial. The story unfolds as Naomi begins to understand who she is as a half Mexican American girl, thus reaching out to readers of every culture. The story also touches on the foundations of what it takes to be a family - Grams being the rock for Naomi and Owen who just want to feel like they belong and have a home. Readers will connect to Naomi's strength and honesty during her journey to self discovery. Targeted for high 4th grade readers and up.
Annod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book better than Esperanza Rising.
frazrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 lives. (not in a positive way). I love the cultural experience of Oaxaca and the way the family comes together to protect the children.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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, Naomi, is a sweet and basically ordinary girl. I was very satisfied with this book, particularly its depiction of Mexican culture.
RoseMarion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 family. 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!
CatheOlson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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?
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
rfewell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
lwmasters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Becoming Naomi Leon is a wonderful book about a young girl who is struggling with family issues and trying to find herself in the world. Naomi is such a role model for young girls. I would suggest this book to anyone, I enjoyed it myself and I am currently in my 20s.
Suzieqkc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Naomi's mom left her and her little brother with their great-grandmother when her marriage disolved. Without giving the story away, things go south for the little fam when Naomi's mom reappears seven years later.
mandolin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book about a girl named Naomi and her brother Owen who live with their great grandmother in an RV park. It's a good life for them, although Naomi wonders about her past, mostly her parents. When her mother shows up, Naomi has mixed feelings, and as the situation unfolds, it becomes necessary to track down their father in Mexico before all they hold dear is lost. It's a wonderful story about finding out who you are, love, and courage, and is rich with culture and imagination. I would recommend it for anyone age 10 and up.
mmleynek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response:Even though this is about a young girl trying to figure out who she is, I was able to relate to it. My husband left me after 22 years and I really struggled to find myself and discover who I was without him. I have learned much about myself in the last three years. This book reminded me that we all need to work to ¿become¿ who we are as we are shaped by the events of our lives.
CarmellaLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response:Naomi¿s search for her dad makes this story a search for her identity. The story is effective in dramatizing Naomi¿s discovery of her Mexican roots and the artist inside herself. Curricular or Programming Connections:Excellent support for the middle ages studentsDevelop a program on a Mexican roots and assist in the task of finding inner self
kmcgiverin05 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a truly impressionable book that anyone could relate to. I would recommend it for the upper intermediate grades.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great children's book author. In this story, an unfit mother who abandoned her kids threatens to take them away from the only parent they've ever known, their great-grandmother. Part of the story takes place in Mexico around the time of Las Posadas. It also introduces the art of carving. A great book.
GennaP5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
librarianlou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Naomi's mother returns to reclaim her, she travels with her grandmother and brother to Mexico and meets her father.