Thursday, September 29, 2005
Becoming Naomi Leon
Becoming Naomi Leon is one of the best children's books that I have read in many years. It is the touching story of a bi-cultural brother and sister abandoned by their mother and living in their Grandmother's trailer named Baby Beluga in Lemon Tree, California.
Naomi is a shy, quiet girl who carves soap into animals and makes lists. Owen is an FLK (Funny Looking Kid) who dreams of bicycles and wears tape on his clothes for comfort. Grandma is a fiesty, postive-thinking and loving woman who tries her best to expose the children to their Mexican culture. They live in relative happiness until the day their mother shows up. She devotes her time and gifts to Naomi, ignoring Owen in spite of his obvious desire to have her love.
As Naomi's mother spends more time in Lemon Tree, her motives for coming to see her children become threatening so Grandma and the wonderful Mexican neighbors band together to protect the children.
Becoming Naomi Leon is an eloquent and moving story of an extended family, a mother that is a danger to her children, a hunt for a missing father that takes the reader on an extended tour of Oaxaca and the beauty to be found there. It is simple and elegant; painful and sweet. This book will touch your heart and show you love in it's purest form.
Pam Munoz Ryan has written an ageless and beautiful story that will stay with me for a very long time.
Next week: Condorito
Gina MarySol Ruiz