Ryan, Pam Munoz. Becoming Naomi Leon. New York: Scholastic, 2004. Print.
image from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8e/Becoming_Naomi_Le%C3%B3n.jpg
Naomi and her brother Owen live with their grandmother in Lemon Tree, California. They get by on simplicity and the power of positive thinking.
Naomi makes lists. She makes lists about what she worries about, interesting words and "Things that were the good and the bad all rolled into one" including the fact that her mother has returned after being gone seven years (Ryan 30). (As a list maker myself, I smiled when I read about this character).
Owen wears tape. It literally holds him together.
The mother made me want to SCREAM! I was so upset about her selfishness and motivations and her treatment of the kids. I don't want to say too much here, but she is below worthless.
The grandmother tries to do her best to help these kids. I admire her tenacity.
When the family travels to Mexico to find Santiago, I was put off by the connections that actually found him. It was much too convenient (however, much needed for the story, I understand. Besides, fiction at this reading level allows for reality to be put aside some). I did like the sprinkling in of the Mexican tradition of radish carving. I don't know if it is true, but it was a glue piece to the story.
I know that this book is a middle grade book, but I don't think I want my daughter to read it yet. There are some people (characters) that I just don't want her to meet. There are some situations that I don't want her to experience. Sadly, there are so many kids that really live like Naomi and Owen. Maybe I should let my daughter read this so that she can experience through reading instead of reality. I will put it on her shelf, and she will find it to read when it is the right time. I believe books "find" us when we can receive the message.