Harry Pacheco saw just how crushed his daughter was when she came home from school bullied for the new glasses that she had to wear.
So he came up with a simple yet effective way to combat the experience not just for her, but for kids everywhere who are ridiculed by classmates because they happen to be different in some ways.
He wrote a book.
And since December, things for Pacheco – who had no previous aspirations of becoming an author – have picked up immensely as word of his book, and his mission, has spread throughout San Joaquin County.
For all intents and purposes, the professional Realtor has been on a whirlwind tour of local media outlets and literary representatives who have all found the redeeming message in his book and recognized his passion for getting it out to the public – be it through online sales through outlets like Amazon or donations to local elementary schools so that the kids who need to hear the message have access to it.
Most recently he was featured in San Joaquin County’s version of Parents Magazine to detail his effort.
“It has definitely been a whirlwind – I’ve gotten lots of letters from ordinary citizens, some from people that I used to go to school with, that have detailed their experiences with bullying and thanking me for what it is that I’m doing for this new generation,” Pacheco said. “It’s heartwarming to be able to share those letters with my kids, and at times its really sad – but that gives me a sense of joy because of what we’re doing here.
“We’re bringing this awareness out for kids that they can be comfortable with their own skin, quirks, race or religion and that it’s okay for loving them for who they are.”
But Pacheco isn’t stopping with a few local media outlets. He was recently contacted by Toni Raymus on behalf of the Great Valley Bookfest and plans on featuring his new work this coming year. He is also planning on holding readings and sessions with children from the Manteca Boys and Girls Club, and has been contacted from other ventures that want to know more about his story, how he came up the idea, and the impact it has had since it was released.
The story about Gladys as a young girl focuses on her being teased and bullied about wearing glasses to school for the first time and drawing the attention of fellow students. The colorful cartoon characters enhance the story presentation for teachers, parents and students alike.
Pacheco said he has already introduced his book series to several schools in the Bay Area in addition to the Cornerstone Christian School in Manteca. He said for every book purchased he will donate one to an elementary school. Pacheco said his mission is to have as many children as possible be well-equipped before they reach high school and face greater bullying challenges and to be more sensitive to one another. His books can be found on Amazon.com.
“I was interviewed just recently and was asked whether any of this was rewarding for me – now that the book is selling,” Pacheco said. “This book wasn’t about the money, but about helping other people – that’s the ultimate reward for me. So to be able to get that message out there and know that it’s making a difference in the lives of the people who read it and possibly giving them the reassurance that they need that they’re perfectly fine is the ultimate reward.”