Thursday, March 29, 2007

Adoption success story

I reported a few days ago that Kari Grady Grossman's brand new book, Bones That Float, A Story of Adopting Cambodia had been published. All proceeds from the book will benefit a school that Kari sponsors in the Kompong Speu area of Cambodia. She tells me that the book is available from her website, as well as and bookstores, and that pre-sales have already totalled 500+. This review of the book by Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father and After They Killed My Father, says it all:
Bones That Float is Kari Grady Grossman’s tender tale of her journey to find her son in Cambodia. But more than an adoption story, this beautifully written book brings to light the external, internal, and spiritual struggles mothers of internationally adoptive children face in their new roles. As a mother, Kari understands the cultural and emotional issues her son, like many other young Asian Americans today, will face in our contemporary American society. As a writer, she knows that Asian Americans are more than the one dimensional characters they are often portrayed on television and in films. Instead, they are a juxtaposition of old and new world views, proud of their cultures but also finding that sometimes they have to rebel against traditions that keep them down. Like her son, today’s Asian American youths will have to break molds and barriers to create a new mosaic of families, lives, and multi-national identities in their increasingly global world. In her desire to understand and make whole her son’s two countries, Kari integrates both cultures into her heart and their lives so successfully, she’s fallen in love with her son’s ‘other’ brothers and sisters in Cambodia. This led Kari to return to Cambodia many times to build a school and become ‘mama’ to over 450 children. Told with fierce honesty and an affecting voice, Bones that Float is a love story of mother for her child, and a testimony of how love can change the world.”

1 comment:

Andy said...

My thanks to Kari Grady Grossman who has just sent me a copy of her book to review. In the meantime, he's another press article for your delictation.

A personal journey to the heart of Cambodia - By Richard Irwin, Special to the Press-Telegram 04/15/2007
Long Beach Press Telegram (Long Beach, Calif., USA)

HOW MANY authors would turn down an advance from a major publishing house so they could publish their own work?

Author Kari Grady Grossman did just that for purely altruistic reasons. Through Wild Heaven Press - part of Wild Heaven Productions, a documentary company that she and her husband George founded - a quarter of her new book's profits are donated to Friends of the Grady Grossman School, a nonprofit group that supports a Cambodian school that the couple founded in their son's honor in 2001.

In "Bones That Float: A Story of Adopting Cambodia," the Wyoming-based journalist tells the story of how the adoption of her Cambodian son led her to investigate the tragic takeover by the Khmer Rouge and the lasting effects it had on this small Asian country.

Tuesday marks the 32nd anniversary of the takeover. Grady Grossman's book covers the three decades that have passed since the genocide.

Cambodians celebrate their New Year in April, and this year could be a year of justice if the United Nations follows through on its plans to prosecute Khmer Rouge war criminals.

Grady Grossman entered a crowded orphanage in Phnom Penh on March 24, 2001. That's where she met her 8-month-old son and began a personal quest to uncover her son's past.

The journey took her through Cambodia's gruesome history of genocide and war. In her book, the Wyoming writer tells the stories of two Cambodians, one who managed to escape the Khmer Rouge's purge and one who didn't.

Grady Grossman,a 1990 graduate of Syracuse University, has spent the last 20 years traveling around the world to write and produce documentaries.

Her work has appeared on Discovery Channel Online, ranging from covering the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska to an expedition on Mount Everest.

In "Bones That Float," she takes readers on the back of a moto-taxi along the smoggy streets of Phnom Penh as she delves into her son's past.

"Bones That Float" refers to a Cambodian phrase for the sacred that rises from suffering.

In her book, Grady Grossman takes us into the jungle with the Khmer Rouge, where boy soldiers force starving families to work all day at gunpoint. Later it jumps to modern-day Cambodia, where innocent preteen girls are bought by foreign pedophiles.

The book inspired the Grady Grossmans to create a school in a remote village in Cambodia, which now educates 500 children every year.

The Cambodian students were recently featured on the Voice of America for a letter-writing campaign to stop the deforestation of their country. The students are demanding an end to corruption in their community.

The publication date was moved forward to April because the author sees an urgent need for the international community to help save the forests in Cambodia, as well as the livelihoods supported by it.

In the end, the author reminds us that we're all "one big family," and we shouldn't turn our backs on people suffering in other lands. Especially, Grady Grossman notes, when our country's foreign policy has contributed to some of this suffering.

Proceeds from her new book will help fund Grady Grossman's school. While "Bones That Float" will be available at major bookstores and online booksellers, more money per book will be donated if readers buy it directly from or by mail order to Wild Heaven Press, P.O. Box 65, Lander, WY 82520. The cost is $24.95, plus a $5 shipping fee.

Last year, the Grady Grossmans traveled to India, where they adopted their second child. She is now working on a book about that country.

Grady Grossman will man a booth at the Cambodian New Year Celebration on Saturday in Area 3 of El Dorado Regional Park, 7551 E. Spring St., Long Beach. She will discuss and sign "Bones That Float."

The event, featuring traditional food, activities and entertainment, will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $20 per car in advance or $30 on the day of the event. For information, call (562) 607-9261 or see