by Vanessa Caraveo
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Being born deaf and with a rare congenital anomaly that makes him unable to produce sounds with his vocal cords, Diego Herrera would be, by most estimations, considered handicapped, disabled, or a person with special needs. As the child of undocumented Mexican immigrants who are constantly at risk of being deported, he also faces prejudice and discrimination. Diego wants nothing more in life than to be a soccer player and to make his family, especially his mother, proud. Throughout his childhood, Diego has been a stabilizing force in his family as a source of comfort for his mother as he sidesteps his ill-tempered father. His older sister, Margarita, takes on a laundry list of challenges, which make her bitter and increasingly jealous toward her brother. His best friend, Fernando, provides immense support to Diego throughout his inspiring journey.
As the subtitle says, Adversity Means Nothing in the Face of His Perseverance. Diego had true grit. He didn’t give up, he kept on going even when it seemed there was no way through. Valiance is a heartwarming tale that raises awareness of the challenges some people face due to being born different or because of where they come from. It also highlights the importance and impact that inclusion has on our world. This is the kind of story that teaches all ages to be compassionate and to never give up on their dreams. Life truly favors the bold.