My Name Is Leon is an absolutely phenomenal and poignant novel. It is told from the perspective of Leon, a nine year old black boy growing up in England in the 1980’s. Leon, along with his baby brother Jake, find their lives upturned when they are entered into foster care, as their mum is too sick to look after them. Here’s the catch, where Leon is black, Jake is white AND a baby. Jake is easily adopted… and Leon is left behind. All he has left is a teddy of Jake’s and one photo.
We see the way these changes affect Leon, warping his world perspective and maturing him far beyond his years. Leon is a beautiful character. He’s a perfect mixture of curiosity and innocence; of wisdom and naivety. His foster carers, Maureen and Sylvia, are equally loveable and relatable. I love the fact that this book dealt with race, adoption, and families.
This book feels so real when you read it – and that’s because it is. Kit De Waal has been surrounded by the foster care system her whole life. Her mum was a foster carer, and she then went on to advise Social Services on the care of foster children. I find it so refreshing to read a book that is so well researched and loved this book so much! I give it 4/5 stars.