My Name Is Leon

My Name Is Leon

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 02/06/2016
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Bookseller Reviews

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My Name Is Leon
Poignant and Insightful
My Name is Leon is a brilliant debut from Kit De Waal that masterfully crafts the naïve yet nuanced internalisations of a young boy, whilst illustrating th... READ MORE
Nicole at Haywards Heath
My Name Is Leon
Heartbreaking but lovely
If I could do half ratings, this would be more of a 3.5 than a solid 4. I did have a good old cry in the early stages of the book, Leon's situation was abs... READ MORE
Issy at Cribbs Causeway
My Name Is Leon
A lion-hearted book
The central character in Kit de Waal's My Name is Leon is a child who finds himself in the care system in the early 1980s. His mother seems to suffer from ... READ MORE
Jane E Skudder
My Name Is Leon
My new favourite book.
Surely this is going to be one of the books of the year. The words tender, heartbreaking, beautiful and bittersweet do not do it justice. The story of Leon... READ MORE
My Name Is Leon
Heartfelt and full of prose that seeps character
I very much enjoyed this easy-to-read debut novel. It's written in a way that feels childlike, which really works, because the whole novel is about underst... READ MORE
Sharon Boyd
My Name Is Leon
Touching and Marvellous
My Name is Leon is an absolute treasure of a book. I can often be put off by child main characters, but there is no possible way Leon will not capture your... READ MORE
Cat at York


Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016‘I’m your brother,’ says Leon. ‘Big brother.’
The baby doesn’t say anything back.
‘Big. Brother.’ Says Leon. ‘My. Name. Is. Leon. I am eight and three quarters. I am a boy.’
The baby stretches himself out to say he understands.

A brother chosen.

A brother left behind.

And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Brilliantly evoking the Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss; of the fierce bond between siblings and how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home.

Already noted as a writer of short fiction, Kit de Waal was inspired by her own mother’s work as a foster carer as well as a career working in family and criminal law to write this heartfelt and moving first novel. Told from the point of view of a child My Name is Leon is a moving story about families; the ones we’re born to and those we choose.

‘A moving and thought-provoking debut novel’ – The Guardian

'Unforgettable, heartbreaking and uplifting - just read it' Daily Mail 'My debut of the year so far...heartbreaking and warm at the same time' - Stylist

'Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest, this novel does what only the best do: it quietly makes room in your heart' - Chris Cleave, bestselling author of The Other Hand

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241207086
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Weight: 348g
  • Dimensions: 204 x 136 x 26 mm

Customer Reviews

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My Name Is Leon
A special place in your heart...
This book will find a special place in your is simply brilliant!! Can't wait to see what this author produces next!
Fiona Sharp
My Name Is Leon
I'm still thinking about Leon
Leon is nine years old when he and his baby brother, Jake, go to live with Maureen. He knows that his mum can’t look after him very well at the moment, so ... READ MORE
Joy Finlayson
My Name Is Leon
"It is impossible not to fall in love with Leon..."
Heartwarming and heartbreaking by turns, My Name is Leon follows the experiences of Leon, a nine year old boy who is separated from his baby brother Jake ... READ MORE
My Name Is Leon
Leon is a character to cherish.
Kit de Waal has packed so much into this beautiful novel. It's just over 250 pages long and has such an emotional impact. I fell in love with Leon on the v... READ MORE
Anne Cater
My Name Is Leon
Love is the best medicine
This is a difficult novel to write about because it is so sad. A story of an eight-year-old boy who is separated from his mother was bound to be tough, but... READ MORE
Charlotte Rose Norman
My Name Is Leon
Heart-breaking and heart-warming!
I am little bit heart-broken and a lot impressed. This was a heart-breaking and at the same time heart-warming tale of a mixed race boy growing up in 1980’... READ MORE
Lynda Deutrom
My Name Is Leon
Meet Leon...
Kit de Waal's début novel packs in a lot of big issues and deep emotions and has a huge, fit for bursting empathetic heart. This story is about Leon, so is... READ MORE
Leilah at Doncaster
My Name Is Leon
Beautifully Written
This is one of the books I just couldn't put down! Waal captures the heart and soul of Leon in every page. The book is beautifully written from the perspec... READ MORE
Katie  Smout
My Name Is Leon
Five big, fat, emphatic starts!
I LOVED My Name Is Leon. Leon is 9 when we first meet him and he has a newborn brother called Jake. His mum starts to struggle and the boys end up in the 1... READ MORE