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Becoming Naomi León

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  8,351 ratings  ·  720 reviews
When Naomi's absent mother resurfaces to claim her, Naomi runs away to Oaxaca, Mexico with her great-grandmother and younger brother in search of her father.
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published September 1st 2004)
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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous BoschBecoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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5th out of 94 books — 42 voters
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40th out of 239 books — 207 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I don't like Skyla, she is a total retard!
I picked this book after reading “Esperanza Rising”. I loved it so much I had to read another by Pam Munoz Ryan. Naomi’s story is very different than Esperanza’s. In the beginning of the book, Naomi did not live with anyone that shared her Mexican heritage, except her little brother who was very light skinned. So, in the beginning, with the exception of a few teases by boys in her class, her Mexican heritage was not a central issue. It is not until Naomi meets her mother, who threatens to take h ...more
 (NS) Maria
Wow! This book was intense and a lot of things were happening with the characters. I wanted to keep finding out what was going to happen with Naomi. The main character, Naomi has a strong bond with her disabled brother and grandmother. The two children have been living with the grandmother for a long time. One day, her alcoholic mom reappears after seven years with her boyfriend. The mother was hoping to take Naomi and not the brother to collect welfare. The grandmother was very upset to hear ab ...more
Mary Hoch
Naomi and her younger brother, Owen, live with their Gram, who is raising them in a small trailer in Lemon Tree, California. The children face many hurdles throughout their young lives, leaving Naomi shy and unsure of herself, while Owen remains positive and happy, despite his physical disabilities. Naomi takes to soap carving as a hobby and a way of expressing herself. Unexpectedly, their mom re-enters their lives, along with a new boyfriend and his younger daughter. At first, Naomi and Owen ar ...more
Deedee Rosky
"Becoming Naomi Leon" is about a young girl named Naomi who lived a pretty normal life until her mother comes and Naomi finds herself on a journey to try to keep her family together . The author of this fictional story is Pam Munoz Ryan. This book is is full of adventure and always keeps you on your toes. The theme of this story is to never give and keep trying.

This book is told in 3rd person and the genre is realistic fiction.I like "Becoming Naomi Leon" because it's very adventurous and fun. T
Mrs. Lynch
I really loved this book! The dialogue was great, especially the quirky way that Gram speaks. I loved Naomi's character and the closeness of her and her brother, a diagnosed "funny looking kid." The story was good, although a little too neatly solved. I do feel inspired by Naomi the Lion's ability to stand up and tell her story so that her and her brother and her Gram can stay together when her messed up mom tries to take her away. The characters and the setting made the novel great.
Michelle Pegram
This is a powerful story about family, acceptance, culture and empowerment. Naomi lives a happy life full of love with her Grandmother and her brother, Owen, who is an intelligent boy who is coping with a physically disability. Naomi has a fragmented memory of being rescued by her father and little knowledge of her mother. The novel starts with her mother, Skyla, returning with a boyfriend and inserting herself into the children's lives by showering them with gifts and making promises. Skyla soo ...more
James Govednik
I loved this book. The author does a great job with a plot that seems standard at the outset and taking us in a fresh direction that elevates our concern for the characters. Naomi de Soledad Leon Outlaw encounters her mother for the first time she can remember, and it leads to more than just your typical family renunion. Naomi ends up on a journey--literally and figuratively--as she tries to live up to her name. Mom has a new boyfriend, and wants to get reconnected with Naomi, even though Naomi ...more
NS-Lisa Skrzypczynski
Becoming Naomi Leon is the story of Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, a young Hispanic girl who lives her great-grandmother and younger brother Owen. The three live happily in a trailer park in “Baby Beluga,” their trailer home. Owen, her brother was born with some medical difficulties. Naomi lives a carefree life in Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho. She loves to go to school and to eat lunch in the library. Naomi also makes lists about everything she encounters. Life is good for Naomi and her family until ...more
Q_Jill Burke
This book makes you think about all the troubles some children have to deal with on a daily basis. Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw lives with her Grandmother because her mom is an alcoholic and her father lives in Mexico. Both parents have not had contact with Naomi or her brother Owen for years. She and her brother are happy with their Grandmother, who has always taken very good care of them. Trouble begins when their mother comes back to claim only Naomi because she needs someone to watch her boyfri ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Talyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want a book with family members reunited and happy endings
Shelves: ya-novels
I love this book. The first book I read by Pam Munoz Ryan was Esperanza Rising which I was assigned to read by my team at school for a contest held near the end of the year to answer questions about the books on a pre-determined list. Something to encourage kids to read. Hell yeah we read, there were MEDALS.

Anyways. I love this book. Esperanza Rising was approached with a groan and a sigh, but Ryan's style of writing hooked me into the story quickly. And the same happened in Becoming Naomi Leon.
Half-Mexican Noami Leon and her younger brother Owen live with their Gram in a trailer in Lemon Tree, California. Although Naomi has difficulty speaking up, she leads a reasonable happy life, carving soap sculptures and comforted by the only family she knows. When her mother reappears after seven years of being away, Naomi is forced to find herself and deal with the many questions she has about her heritage and past. In a quest to stay with her brother and Gram, Naomi travels to Mexico to find h ...more
Pura Belpre Honor Book 2006

This book tells the story of Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw and her brother Owen. They live with their great-grandmother, who they call Gram. Naomi has trouble speaking up is school and is teased because of her last name, and Owen has some kind of disability, that is not identified, but it seems to be a physical one because he is said to be very smart and can beat everyone at checkers with very few moves. They are basically happy with their lives until their mother shows up
Ciara Alamillo
It’s not easy growing up with the name Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, but she doesn’t let the kids teasing her get the best of her. Naomi is a shy girl who kids at her school refer to her as “nobody special”. Naomi lives with her great-grandmother who she calls gram and her younger brother Owen in Avacado Acres. Not only does Naomi have a hard time with other kids picking on her, but her brother has it even worse because he has a health condition which makes his face look abnormal. Naomi thin
Kristle Steele
Ryan, P. (2004). Becoming Naomi Leon. New York: Scholastic Press.

Kirkus Review:
(Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004 (Vol. 72, No. 17))
First-person narrator Naomi Le-n 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
Megan Koval
I liked this book a lot because I really enjoyed Naomi and her narraration. It was incredibly real and it seemed as if an actual little girl was telling the story. I found myself feeling emotions with Naomi, and even though I have never had anything like this happen to me in my life, I could definitely sympathize with Naomi.

I think this book would be good for a student who is having troubles at home with his or her family because Naomi has an incredibly unique family situation herself and I thi
Alyssa Ruehl
Personal Reaction
I really enjoyed this book. I loved learning about the Mexican culture and her experiences within the schools. It was a serious topic, but the book was presented in a lighter tone so it made it easier to read. At the end of the novel, I truly wanted Naomi to succeed in being able to stick up for herself.
Read aloud to make a curricular connection:
For Becoming Naomi Leon, I would incorporate the novel during a social studies unit on different cultures, specifically within North
Cierra Garrison
Personal reaction: I love, love, loved this book! It ended up being much more intense and twisty turny (I know that's not a word!!) than I would've ever imagined. There were multiple times while reading that I had to keep telling myself that I would put the book down after I had finished the chapter I was on, and I couldn't. I caught myself completely investing myself into the characters. I felt for Naomi, being the outcast at school who had to be raised by her great-grandma and consequently had ...more
Ciara Plackett
Personal Reaction:
I absolutely loved this book! I think it's a book that really belongs in the classroom because it has problems that children really do deal with. Living with grandparents, parents with drinking problems, abusive parents, low income, being different and disabilities. This book has a strong theme of being brave and standing up for yourself and never giving up. This book also shines a wonderful light on the Mexican culture, the characters actually travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for a ra
Yvonne Shute
Characters: Naomi, Soledad León Outlaw; Mary Outlaw, Gram, her great grandmother; Owen, Naomi’s brother; Terri Lynn, or Skyla, their mother; Clive, her boyfriend; Santiago León, the father

Setting: Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho, in Lemon Tree, California; Oaxaca, Mexico

Theme: Multicultural; poverty; nontraditional families

Summary: Naomi lives in a trailer with her grandmother, Gram, and her physically disabled brother. She is a bright girl, who loves the library and keeps lists of words. While Gra
Josefina Gutierrez
Becoming Naomi León is a realistic narrative on family loss, family gain and perspective. An eleven year old girl named Naomi Santiago León Outlaw tells it exactly how she sees it; being a reliable narrator provides the reader with a set-up of the scenes. Her brother Owen is about eight years old and is disabled, with a growth issue as a result from a birth defect. Naomi and Owen are refreshing characters because often time’s adults do not realize children know what is happening around them. The ...more
Alondra Munoz
This book is was definitely had a lot of intensity to it and when I first picked it up I wasn’t sure what it was going to be about. I would say that at the beginning I thought it would be about a little girl trying to figure herself out but I never imagined all the events that would go on throughout the book. With that being said the book was about a little girl named Naomi Leon who lived with her younger brother and her grandmother. Her little brother is also disabled and her personality at the ...more
This is one of those books which was just sitting on my shelves when I realized that I (finally) recognized the author as the author of Esperanza Rising. Had I realized it earlier, I would have been recommending this book to more of my students.

In a way, it's a coming of age story because a shy child finds her voice and learns who and what she is made of. In another way, it's a lovely story of discovering the same girl finding her roots.

Naomi is a child of abuse, even if she doesn't remember the
A gem of a story. I am always impressed when authors can tackle BIG issues in a way that is palatable and understandable to kids. Naomi and her brother Owen, an FLK (funny-looking-kid) who has some physical abnormalities which don't impact his smarts or outlook, live with their great-grandmother after being dumped by their mother years earlier. Now Mom, (self-named Skyla) is back and wants custody of Naomi (but not Owen) to take her to Las Vegas with her boyfriend and his daughter for a ready-ma ...more
As I may have mentioned before, when I was younger, I was an excessively picky reader. Picky to the point of prejudice. I didn't understand the concept or the importance of reading about characters who were very different from me. I also created elaborate and mostly untrue stories about books based on their covers, which meant that I missed out on a lot of great books. My BFF as a tween recommended Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples to me, and gracious, did I love that book. I vividly remember bu ...more
Ms. Yingling
I can't imagine why I didn't have this in my library! I have one student who wants to read everything about any Hispanic character she can, so I ordered this one for her. I'm very glad I did.

Naomi and Owen have been left by their alcoholic mother, Skyla, with their great grandmother, who is trying very hard to raise them in a trailer park near an avocado orchard. Owen has many special needs, but is very bright. Their close knit community includes the grandmother's friend, Flora. When Skyla show
Linda Lipko
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 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 pla
Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill
This is a YA novel that I read because my fifth grade son was telling me about it and got me excited about it. He borrowed a copy from one of his teachers and brought it home for me to read after she told him he was not to read ahead since they're reading it in class.

I liked this book so well because it touched on so many things. It encompassed the power of positive thinking, being who you are and knowing that everything works out.

Naomi is a fifth grade girl who lives in Lemon Tree, California.
Kelli McKenna
Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan was a powerful read. I really enjoyed reading it because opened my eyes to issues that other children are actually dealing with, issues that I did not experience or know of any other children who experienced growing up. This story would make for an excellent independent read for third or fourth graders maybe while talking about other cultures because Naomi has a Mexican background. The wonderful thing about realistic fiction is it discusses real life problem ...more
Dec 13, 2011 Jenalyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenalyn by: Pksoper
This was a really good read. I loved Naomi as a character and following her through her struggles with her family. My favorite quote from the book is "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!"

SENSITIVITY WARNING: Maybe some language, some abuse (mostly verbal)
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Multi-age Read? 1 4 Jan 27, 2014 12:24PM  
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A former teacher, she lives in Leucadia, California with her family.
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“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!” 13 likes
“There it was again, the good and bad all rolled into a meatball.” 7 likes
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