Thursday, August 12, 2010

Becoming Naomi Leon

Becoming Naomi LeonBecoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan

AR Reading Level: 5.4
On the library stacks: Young Adult and Juvenile Fiction
Awards: Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Bk. Award; Skipping Stones Honor Award; NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts; Pura Belpre Award/Honor Book; Book Sense Book of the Year Award/Honorees; ALA Notable/Best Books
Recommended for: Grades 6+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Naomi Outlaw is a quiet 11-year old girl who lives with her great-grandmother and younger brother Owen in a California trailer park. Her mother left her with her great-grandmother when Naomi was just 4, but returns after 7 years to try and claim her.

Naomi wants to love her mother, a recovering alcoholic, but things about her just seem off. Eventually, Naomi's mother tries to force Naomi to go to Las Vegas with her and her boyfriend. This sends Naomi, her great-grandmother, Owen and some supportive neighbors to Mexico (in the trailer named Baby Beluga) during Christmastime to try and find Naomi's father for help.

This is a heartbreaking, but inspiring and sweet book. Naomi's situation encourages her to accept what she cannot change, but to stand up for herself and her family. I was in love with optimistic Owen, who has some medical difficulties, and Naomi's level-headed grandmother.

This book is well-written and I especially loved the beautiful scene in Mexico describing La Posadas. Thematically, this book might be a little mature for younger readers, but I definitely recommend it for middle school and up.

Also reviewed by: Books & other thoughts ~ Your link here?

Book 72 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 31 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 34 of 50 for the YA Reading Challenge, Book 50 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2004)

Source: BookMooch


bermudaonion said...

The things some young people have to go through! The book does sound wonderful!

alisonwonderland said...

I haven't read this one - although it sounds like I need to - but I adored Ryan's Esperanza Rising.