Breanna Mendoza’s story of overcoming adversity has been well documented. In 2015, she was forced out of attending middle school after being bullied for her facial deformities due to Goldenhar Syndrome. Since then, Mendoza has attended Huntington Learning Center and graduated from Turlock Christian High School and has used her education to become a published author.
A little over a month ago, Mendoza released Amber’s Adventures with Goldenhar, a children’s book that reflects some her real-life experiences while living with the rare syndrome.
“The book is about my life with Goldenhar Syndrome and an adventure of going to the hospital and having a surgery,” she said.
Mendoza explained that her inspiration to write a book was to show that regardless of the things some people may be forced to deal with in life, they can get through it and use those obstacles to spread positivity to others. It is also the reasoning behind her “Be a Light” movement.
“The main goal was to start the movement of ‘Be a Light,’ she said. “I know for me, something I thought about after being bullied was how could I show people how to be treated how I want to be treated. I came up with the idea of Be a Light because being a light in a dark world matters… After everything in my life that has occurred, I want to show people that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Her father, Miguel, serves as her manager and spoke about the importance of letting Breanna tell her story.
“She’s always been a bit of a writer. For her to take her life and put it into a book is awesome,” he said. “Not only do we want to spread the message of be a light, but we also want to spread awareness that not everybody is the same. People are different, but you’re beautiful, you’re gorgeous and it doesn’t matter what anybody is saying… We may be different but we’re all the same.”
Breanna explained that, as a lover of books and reading, writing one of her own was something she’d been wanting to do for a while. She explained that writing Amber’s Adventures with Goldenhar took a couple of months to complete, but the process of illustrating and publishing took nearly a year. She worked alongside Tracy artist Miel Rodriguez, whom she discovered by noticing the artwork at her orthodontist office. They ended up getting in contact and the rest was history.
“Miel just said that whatever I wanted, she’d make it happen,” Breanna said. “She gave me multiple options, we spoke about different things, the different colors and we eventually got it all done.”
Miguel explained that, while this book will only cover Breanna’s adventures revolving one surgery, she plans on turning the book into a series to cover her experiences with the over 20 other operations she has had to have in her life.
“She’s had well over 20 surgeries and is going to cover different things from those times as well as go over growing up with her two brothers and her parents, me and her mother,” Miguel explained. “I don’t know what she’s going to include in the next books, but the word adventure is there for a reason. Life is an adventure.”
Breanna will be experiencing another adventure when she hosts a book signing at Lightly Used Books in Turlock on June 25. She explained that she has built a strong relationship with owner Jenni Brannon, who offered to have a popup signing at the shop.
“Me and my dad were actually brainstorming and we just decided, ‘Hey, why don’t we try a book signing?’ We ended up talking to Jenni and she offered to have a popup,” Breanna explained.
The book signing will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will also give customers a chance to purchase the book in-person.
For those unable to attend the book signing, they can buy a copy by going to Breanna’s newly launched website, wwwBreannaMendoza.com, and clicking on the ‘Shop Now’ tab to be directed to the book listing on Amazon.