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Becoming Naomi Leonby Pam Munoz Ryan
Synopses & Reviews
The highly anticipated new novel from the Pura Belpre and Jane Addams Peace Award-winning author of ESPERANZA RISING.
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 7 years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.
"Fifth-grader Naomi's great-grandmother has been a loving guardian for Naomi and Owen, her handicapped brother, since their mother divorced their father and abandoned them in Lemon Tree, Calif., seven years before. When the children's mother, Skyla, makes a sudden reappearance, she wants Naomi to leave Gram and Owen to move to Las Vegas — and Gram fears that Skyla and her new boyfriend have ulterior motives. 'What locked the possibility of catastrophe in my mind, was that Gram and Fabiola were going to miss Wheel of Fortune, and that was going to mess up their 744 nights-in-a-row record,' Naomi thinks. Feisty Gram takes action: she and Fabiola and her husband, who hail from Oaxaca City, Mexico, and who knew the children's father, take the children and embark on an odyssey of sorts, in search of their father at Oaxaca's annual radish-carving festival. Once again, Ryan (Esperanza Rising) crystallizes the essence of settings and characters through potent, economic prose. Through Naomi's first-person narration, the author gently captures the girl's simultaneous attraction to and wariness of her mother with Naomi's first impression: 'I couldn't take my eyes off her lipstick. It was the exact same color as her hair and went up and down in a perfect rounded M on her top lip.' And the heroine's skill with carving connects her to her father long before they finally meet. Sharing her protagonist's love of language, artistic sensibility and keen sensitivity, Ryan creates a tender tale about family love and loyalty. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the award-winning author of "Esperanza Rising" comes a riveting novel about family and identity, drawn from the warmth, wisdom, and love of Ryan's own Mexican and Oklahoman heritages.
About the Author
Pam Munoz Ryan is the recipient of the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature. She has written more than thirty books which have garnered, among countless accolades, the Pura Belpre Medal, the Jane Addams Award, and the Schneider Family Award. Pam lives near San Diego. You can visit her at www.pammunozryan.com.
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