Parents' Guide to

Becoming Naomi Leon

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A family flees a mean mother in this rich novel.

Becoming Naomi Leon Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+

Excellent book with deep themes.

A well written story about a child in difficult circumstances. Raises some issues of child neglect/abandonment and addiction which might be hard for some kids. Overall, the message is positive and you can really see the character grow. I really liked that it was a positive book about a Mexican-American child in difficult circumstances. It's my daughter's favorite book.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 9+

Here's what I think of Becoming Naomi Leon

Becoming Naomi Leon is a very good book. Basically it is about a girl who's Mom leaves her for seven years then comes back to claim her daughter but not her son. She doesn't want her son because he is handicapped. Parents need to watch out for Naomi's mother because she is an alcoholic and sometimes she gets very mean and abusive. She is trying to use the government to get her daughter for free babysitting. dd age 9

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (9 ):

Naomi, Owen, and Gram are appealing characters. Naomi worries, keeps lists of things that interest her, and hangs out in the school library with other social misfits and the kind, eccentric librarian. Owen is relentlessly optimistic and cheerful, and his rather lopsided appearance masks intelligence and a good heart. Gram works hard and believes in the power of positive thinking, and she has managed to make their meager existence seem rich and cozy.

The only character who doesn't ring true is the children's mother, Skyla, who seems to have no redeeming qualities at all. She is maliciously selfish, scheming, devious, alcoholic, abusive, and just plain mean. While this certainly enhances the reader's sympathy for already sympathetic characters, it does make Skyla a rather cardboard villain, and lessens the complexity of the situation. But the author makes up for this with the richness of the scenes in Mexico, which spring to vivid life after the pale California scenes. They seem to be shot through a warmer filter, and will make readers long for a trip to Mexico.

Book Details

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