Overcoming obstacles

HARLINGEN — Santos Vallejo, author of “Little Santos Against All Odds” has reasons to be happy.

His first children’s book, which served as an inspiration to children with learning disabilities, inspired a second book — “Little Santos Overcomes Obstacles” — and now that book has inspired a third.

Vallejo was diagnosed as a child with a learning disability that prevented him from learning how to read, write and spell.

His first two books detailed his struggle and the obstacles he had to overcome to get to where he is today.

“What inspired me to write the book is that I was going to something that I thought was going to be the end of my career,” said Vallejo.

“However, in the end it just reassured me that this is where I belong. When you go through something really hard and you stick it through, you find out in the end it just shows you that you can overcome anything.”

Vallejo’s’ third book details another obstacle he had overcome in his life — bullying.

“This new book is to let kids know that they are not alone when being bullied and there is help,” he said.

It also describes some uplifting moments at his job as a firefighter, in which he rescued a child from a vehicle accident, squeezed in through a small home window to help an elderly woman who could not get up after falling down and resuscitated a person.

His success as an author has even brought his character “Little Santos” to life.

“Kids keep telling me they want to know more about Little Santos,” Vallejo said. “Kids don’t see me as person anymore, instead they walk around and say, ‘Hey, there’s Little Santos,’ the character. And to me, that’s awesome because I want them to know that if Little Santos can do it, then they can do it, too.”

However, despite his hectic work schedule, don’t expect Vallejo to put down his pen and stop writing any time soon. His love for storytelling and inspiring others, including his son, has wakened a sleeping writer within.

“I’m never going to stop doing it because my son likes it,” he said. “And at the end of the day it is just something that is going to be there forever. It is just awesome to know that the day that I am not here anymore my kid’s-kid’s-kids will know what it took to get where I am at today.

“It didn’t just happen over night, it took a process.”