Becoming Naomi León

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, and 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 and her little brother, Owen, is happy and peaceful. That is, until their mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.

Americas Award For Children’s And Young Adult Literature (Commended)

2 thoughts on “Becoming Naomi León

  1. Leah Bragin says:

    Pam Muňoz Ryan’s Becoming Naomi León, centers on the life of 11 year-old Naomi Soledad who lives with her brother, Owen, and Gram in a trailer park in Oklahoma.

    Naomi is quiet, makes lists in her notebook full of beautiful words, funny names and worries. Naomi carries a lot of worries with her throughout the book. These are intensified when her mother, Skyla, reappears after seven years.

    At first, it seems like Skyla has good intentions towards Naomi. She buys her new clothes and seems like she wants to stay put. Naomi has a hard time making sense of why Skyla doesn’t treat Owen in the same way. Soon, Naomi’s family learns that Skyla intends to take Naomi away to live in Los Vegas. Desperate to keep her family together, Naomi, Owen, and Gram set off on a journey to Mexico in search of the father they barely remember.

    Similar to Esperanza Rising, Becoming Naomi León features a strong female character and her coming of age journey into independent young womanhood, despite life’s tragic circumstances.

    Naomi’s roots parallel Ryan’s. Growing up, Ryan lived close to both her Oklahoman and Mexican grandmothers. In Becoming Naomi Leon, Gram’s many sayings are based on the words of wisdom Ryan collected from her grandmothers throughout her childhood.

    Ryan, P. M. (2004). Becoming Naomi León. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.

  2. vera vanpool says:

    I read this book last week for a Tradebooks class and I enjoyed it. It shows the reader to understand the differences in children that are brought up differently and of different nationalities. I will probably use this book in my classroom when I get one if I have older students. Good book.

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