In the children’s books we’ve read there is a either a complete lack of parents or the parents move the story forward. In Becoming Naomi León as well as in Coraline, the appearance of the parents plays the essential part in moving the story along. In Becoming Naomi León, Naomi grows up, but still maintains a child’s essence just like in Coraline.
Unlike in Coraline, Naomi has a nontraditional family. Where Coraline has two loving parents and doesn’t realize it, Naomi only has her grandmother. Naomi doesn’t remember her parents so she lets her mind wander with different scenarios about what they would be like. When Naomi gets to know each of them, she realizes she has a loving father and materialistic mother. Where Coraline realizes her parents do love her, Naomi has a great divide between her parents. Santiago truly wants what is best for his children whereas Skyla is really only interested in her own plans. Their attitudes toward their children differ and Naomi and Owen both sense it early on. When Skyla hugs Naomi, “It was not the I-haven’t-seen-you-in-seven-years type of hug that I would have expected” (24). However, Santiago greets his children with a full embrace, pulling both Owen and Naomi close (213). Santiago begins to cry while hugging them, “I knew he was crying by the way his chest was sputtering up and down and by the sounds of his sniffling” (213). Throughout the book, Skyla is self-centered and insensitive, “To look at him, you wouldn’t think he had a brain in his body or could beat anybody at anything, especially with him being crippled” (103). Meanwhile Santiago has only good intentions and wants what is best for his children. Santiago writes the letter saying he wants Gram to have the kids because he knows he can’t give his children the life they deserve. Even though his children won’t be in Mexico with him they all make promises to meet up and write letter to each other. He wants to see his children so he asks for schedule visitation. However, Skyla only wants Naomi and refuses to take Owen because of his condition. Separating Naomi from Owen is not best for Naomi and the judge clearly can see that. Skyla and Clive are materialistic people and they only reason they want Naomi is to collect money for having a dependent. Skyla’s real interest is in the money, but she hides behind the reason of having “mother-daughter relationship” she never had. In actuality, Clive and Skyla only wanted Naomi to become a babysitter for Clive’s daughter. Skyla is very critical of her children, their clothes and the way they look, but doesn’t take the chance to appreciate them for who they are or even try to get to know them. On the other hand, Santiago admits that he should have tried harder to find his children. At least he shows genuine love for his kids by doing what is right in the end.
Like Coraline, throughout Naomi’s journey she learns more about herself and grows up. Naomi holds onto her child essence such as being excited to tell her adventures in Mexico to her best friend and keeping her hobbies such as list making. Naomi realizes she has changed, but nothing on the outside changed much (244).