Harry Pacheco saw how heartbroken his daughter was when she was bullied for wearing glasses.
So he’s doing something about it.
In two weeks the Bay Area native who built a name for himself as a music producer will receive the first shipment of “Gladys’s Glasses” – the first in a series of children’s books that he penned to tackle topics such as bullying.
And he’s making the books available to local schools free of charge to help spread a positive message about accepting people that may look different for who they instead of how may appear.
“I was inspired by daughter and what she went through and the information that I learned when I started researching bullying amongst students,” said Pacheco – who partnered with illustrator Phil Villanueva to craft the images for the animal-themed stories. “Fortunately her bullying stopped but when I would search for information about teen bullying, I saw the connection and the correlation with teen suicide. If these students don’t learn at a younger age about how their attitude affects other people then it can progress to something very serious.
“I felt that if I could do this and I could help possibly save a life then I’ve done my job.”
With an investor behind him, Pacheco set out to write a series of books that tackle a myriad of schoolyard issues and problems and put them in an easy-to-digest format that students as young as kindergarteners can digest.
The reason behind doing so, he said, was quite simple – if bad behavior is learned at a young age then those students will likely repeat it as they move through school. Those who get the message early, he said, will be less likely to carry it on into high school where serious implications become evident.
“My initial response was shock – ‘how is this happening to my daughter,’” he said. “I just thought that if what she went through can impact other people then it doesn’t have to be in vain. I’ve always taught her that even if somebody looks different they’re still a human being and don’t deserve to be treated like that.
“Hopefully we end up with kids that don’t grow up making fun of people because it’s something that serious and really affects people.”
The first book, which tells the story of young Gladys and the issues that she faces with her glasses, is set to arrive within two weeks. Pacheco will have digital copies available for purchase on popular Internet booksellers like Barnes and Noble. He’s going to also copies available to local schools to help spread the message behind the books and is weighing the business options of how best to proceed – possibly inking a contract with companies like Scholastic that gear books specifically to school-age children through a variety of methods.
While he has past experience in the music business and has written music for other people, he never thought that he’d write a book of his own – taking the opportunity to seize the power that bullies have over their subjects and give it back to those who are just trying to live their lives in peace.
“I just saw this as an opportunity to do a really special thing,” Pacheco said. “I had to explain to my daughter that some people wear glasses because they have to use them to see just like some people use an inhaler because they have problems breathing or need medication to help them focus.
“Wearing glasses was normal and it didn’t make her any different than anybody else. Maybe if this message came across at a younger age it never would have progressed to the point that it did. That’s my hope.”