Why this book?
The book is set in the early eighties against the backdrop of the Handsworth riots and the royal wedding.
Nine-year-old Leon narrates his own story which makes it more heart-wrenching as he doesn’t really know what’s going on. When it’s obvious his mum can’t parent her boys, Leon and Jake are taken into care.
They go to a foster carer called Maureen who is desperate to keep the brothers together. But, baby Jake is a more attractive adoption prospect. He’s small but more importantly he’s white, whereas Leon’s father is black. So, Jake is taken by a ‘nice’ family to live a ‘nice’ life whilst Leon is abandoned within the care system.
The story could be just another book following a child into the care system but My Name is Leon is so much more than that because of Leon. Leon is young, Leon is joyful, Leon has hope.
For many reasons, this book will stay in my mind and heart for a long time.
Perhaps a good choice for Black History month.
My Name Is Leon
Why should I read it?
1 author picked My Name Is Leon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
“Taut, emotionally intense, and wholly believable, this beautiful and uplifting debut” (Kirkus Reviews) about a young black boy’s quest to reunite with his beloved white half-brother after they are separated in foster care is a sparkling novel perfect for fans of The Language of Flowers.
Leon loves chocolate bars, Saturday morning cartoons, and his beautiful, golden-haired baby brother. When Jake is born, Leon pokes his head in the crib and says, “I’m your brother. Big brother. My. Name. Is. Leon. I am eight and three quarters. I am a boy.” Jake will play with no one but Leon, and Leon…