Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan paperback
Naomi Soledad Leon 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 among her classmates as "nobody special." But according to Gram's self-prophecies, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. Luckily, Naomi also has her soap carving, a talent at which she excels. And life at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho in Lemon Tree, California, with Gram and her little brother, Owen, is happy and peaceful. That is, until their mother reappears after seven years of being gone, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover and proclaim who she really is. Rich with the warmth, wisdom, and love of Pam Munoz Ryan's Mexican and Oklahoman heritages, this riveting novel about family and identity will leave a deep impression on your heart. Pam Munoz Ryan's inspiration for this book began while reading about Oaxacan wood carving. She says, "I came across a one-line reference to the Night of the Radishes. The event sounded so magical I knew I had to see it. In 1997, on the 100th Anniversary of La Noche de los Rabanos, I visited the romantic and mysterious Oaxaca City, a feast of colors, tastes, pageantry, and festivals. When I began writing Naomi's story and she evolved into a soap carver, my imagination rushed me back to Oaxaca. Or was it Oaxaca's spell that first mesmerized me, and inspired the lioness, Naomi Leon?"