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Becoming Naomi Leon
by Pam Munoz Ryan
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1.Several different covers for this book are available. Which one do you like best? Why?
 
2.Sometimes you can be closer to people not related to you than you are to your own family. If you were Naomi, would you rather live with her real mother and Clive or with her neighbors' family in Mexico? Why?
 
3.Have you ever been to a cultural festival like The Night of the Radishes? If you say yes, please tell us a little about an event you went to.
 
4.Naomi's father and his family live in Mexico, so part of her cultural heritage is Mexican. Do you have a special cultural heritage? If you say yes, please tell us a little more about you.
 
5.Would you like Gram for a grandmother (or great-grandmother)? Why or why not?
 
6.Why do you think it's important to Gram to raise Naomi and Owen?
 
7.As many as 1 out of 10 kids are raised by their grandparents instead of their parents. That would be like 2 to 3 kids in your class! Now that you've read this book, will you think differently about kids who may not live with their parents? What might you think about?
 
8.Why do you think Naomi speaks so softly in most of the book?
 
9.Owen seems to have a pretty positive spirit, despite his physical disabilities and being teased by other kids. So why do you think Owen wears tape on his clothes?
 
10.Why do you think Skyla treats Naomi and Owen so differently?
 
11.When you read some of the things Skyla said or did, how did it make you feel? How do you think Naomi or Owen felt?
 
12.Not all people who become mothers are "good" people. How is Skyla not a "good" mother to Naomi and Owen?
 
13.Why do you think Skyla didn't come to Naomi's and Owen's school conferences when she had said she wanted to?
 
14.Clive and Santiago are both fathers. Who do you think would be a better father to Naomi? Why?
 
15.Why do you think Naomi enjoys carving animals so much?
 
16.Did you like that the author named each chapter for a group of animals? Why or why not?
 
17.Mr. Marble, the school librarian, tells Naomi she has gone from being a mouse to becoming a lion. What do you think he meant?
 
18.Are you close to any neighbors, like Gram, Naomi, and Owen are close to Fabiola, Bernardo, and Mrs. Maloney? If you say yes, please tell us a little about them. If you say no, why do you think some people don't know their neighbors so well these days?
 
19.What, if anything, surprised you most in the story?
 
20.Are you a list maker? (If you read the interview with the author at the back of the book, you learned that the author is a list maker like Naomi.) Why do you think Naomi makes lots of lists?
 
21.Naomi comes from a family of carvers. Does your family have a special tradition or skill like that? If you say yes, please tell us a little about it.
 
22.The author has said that the name "Naomi Outlaw" was from a real person, a student she never met. Do you think the name Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw suited the character in this book? Why or why not?
 
23.Naomi believes that her full name causes her a lot of problems, like being teased by the boys at school for being "an outlaw." Did you ever wish that your own name was different? Why? Or what would you like it to be?
 
24.In the table of contents, the book is divided into three parts: "A Rabble of Yesterdays," "A Passel of Todays," and "A Murmuration of Tomorrows," which doesn't have any chapters underneath it. After the end of the story, what do you want to happen next for Naomi and the other characters in this book?
 
25.Gram believes that when you think positively, you can make good things happen. Do you believe this, too? Why or why not?
 
26.Deep down, Naomi is a lion. What type of animal might someone say you are? Why?
 
27.If you were to make a Splendid Words list like Naomi's, what's a word that you might add to that list?
 
28.When the kids at school pick on Naomi and also Owen, why do you think Naomi doesn't speak up or fight back? Why is it hard for anyone to stand up to bullies?
 
29.Of all the terrible things that happened at the Thanksgiving dinner with Skyla and Clive, what thing bothered you the most? Why?
 
30.What did you think or how did you feel when you read that Baby Beluga was moving down the highway, on its way to Mexico, with Gram, Naomi, Owen, Bernardo, Fabiola, and Lulu the dog?
 
31.With Ruben's help, Naomi and Owen made phone calls in Mexico without permission that may have cost a lot of money. But do you think they might have found Santiago, their father, if they hadn't done this? Why or why not?
 
32.If Naomi had not found the courage and spoken up to the judge, the judge might have made Naomi go and live with Skyla and Clive and Clive's daughter. What do you think life would have been like for Naomi living with them instead of Gram and Owen?
 
Author Website:
http://www.pammunozryan.com
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