WINNER Multicultural: Nonfiction Religion: Eastern 2023 Best Book Awards
WINNER Health: Death & Dying 2023 International Book Awards
From an early age, Kyomi’s life was filled with emotional difficulties—an adulterous father, an overreliant mother, and a dismissive extended family. In an effort to escape the darkness of her existence in Japan, Kyomi moved to the States in February 1990 to start a new life as a researcher working at NIH in Bethesda, MD. Soon, she fell in love with her husband-to-be: Patrick, a warm, charismatic British cancer researcher whose unconditional love and support helped her begin to heal the traumas of her past. Eventually, their journey together led them to change their careers and move to San Diego, CA, where they dedicated themselves to a Buddhism practice that changed both their lives—aiding them in their spiritual growth and in realizing their desire to help others.
Then Patrick was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma in the brain—and, after a fierce, three-year-long battle against his cancer, died on July 4, 2016. Devastated, Kyomi spent a year lost in grief. But when she one day began to write, she discovered that doing so allowed her to uncover truths about herself, her life history, and her relationship with Patrick. In the process, she surfaced many old, unhealed wounds—but ultimately writing became her daily spiritual practice, and many truths emerged out of the darkness. After many years of struggle and searching, Kyomi finally found the love and light that had existed within her all along.
WINNER Multicultural: Nonfiction 2023 International Book Awards
Carlyn Montes De Oca grew up surrounded by secrets. She never knew her dad was a Marine during World War II or that her grandmother hired kidnappers to bring her mother back home after her parents eloped. Her parents took an even bigger secret to their graves… Carlyn’s identity.
In 2019, at age 57, a consumer DNA test taken for fun revealed that Carlyn’s mom and dad, immigrants from Mexico, were not her biological parents. In that instant, Carlyn felt her world shatter. This revelation fueled a year long journey to find the answers to “Who the hell am I and where do I belong?”
Junkyard Girl explores the powerful impact of long-held secrets and the complex relationships between immigrant mothers and their native-born daughters. This is a coming-of-age story later in life; a tale about loss and discovery, betrayal and forgiveness, and the true meaning of an American family.