Becoming Naomi Leon: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Pamela Poisson
In Pam Munoz Ryan's book, 'Becoming Naomi Leon', the main character, Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, whose name 'Leon' means 'lion' in Spanish, has the heart of a lioness that's hiding inside a shy, quiet girl.

Memories Come To Life

What would you do if everything in your life changed - your house, your school, your friends, your family. Everything. This is what the main character, Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, was facing. Naomi lived in a trailer named Baby Beluga with her Gram and brother, Owen.

Naomi lived in a trailer named Baby Beluga
Baby Beluga

Naomi is a fifth grader who loves to carve soap animal shapes and write lists in her notebook. She isn't popular and doesn't stand up for herself. Naomi's mother, Skyla, left her seven years earlier because she couldn't take good care of her. Now she's come back and wants to take Naomi away. Her mom is like a stranger to her. How you would feel if a stranger wanted to take you away? Imagine how Naomi feels. But Gram wasn't about to let that happen.

We know Naomi is where she wants to be when she says, 'Even though my life was a fog of the good and the bad, one thing was clear as a vinegar-shined window in my mind. I belonged with Gram and Owen.'

Journey To Freedom

Who stands up for you in your life? Is it your parents, a friend or a teacher? For Naomi, it was her Gram. Gram believed that one person could help her protect Naomi and Owen - their father, Santiago Leon. He lives in Mexico where Naomi was born. Gram and her friends travel to Mexico in Baby Beluga.

Map of Mexico
Map of Mexico

Naomi has to have faith they will find the dad she doesn't know. We see Naomi trying hard to believe when she says, 'Turning to a clean page, I wrote a hundred times, We will find him. We will find him. We will find him…' In Mexico, they go to a radish carving festival, La Noche de los Rabanos, to find Santiago.

Finding Her Roots

Have you ever discovered something about yourself that you never knew existed - maybe a unique talent or something you're extra good at doing? This happened to Naomi. She begins to realize she isn't just a shy, quiet girl. She learns her name 'Leon' means lion and her soap-carving ability comes from her father's family.

Soap carving
Soap Carving

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