Wanting to make a difference in the lives of people outside his classroom, Anthony Amerena wrote a children’s book. The book, This Is Me, offers hints and guidance for the child in your life that might be facing the daunting process of coming out to their family and friends.

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“I definitely think anyone can take a lesson from it, it’s aimed at that upper primary, junior secondary level because the actual text and sentence structure is quite simple but you could read this book to a group of year 11 students and then talk about characters’ emotions, so it could be interpreted in so many different ways,” Amerena explains.

Representation Is Vitally Important

“That was why I wanted a picture storybook and not a novel because I wanted to write something that could be read within a ten-minute setting and then create that discussion.”

Representation is vitally important and was a major inspiration for the project. Amerena believes that seeing himself in a book, during the years that he was questioning his sexuality, would have been a massive help – especially the assurance that everything will be OK on the other side.

“Oh, it’s huge! If you see yourself represented in a book and you’ve gone through a struggle or you’re worried about something, you might think, ‘oh there are other people out there that have those worries, that have those concerns, that have that anxiety,’ so yeah, I think people need to see themselves represented, not only in books, but everywhere,” Amerena says.

A Gay Teacher In A Catholic School

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Amerena’s career as a gay teacher in the Catholic school system might be a surprising revelation for some but he speaks highly of his experience, though he does acknowledge that his experience might be different from other educators in a similar situation.

“It’s been really nice actually,” Amerena says. “I wouldn’t be working at a school if I didn’t feel like I belonged. The [deputy principal] is just incredible and our head of Faith and Mission is just – wow. It’s really beautiful.”

“I know that my experience is my experience and I do know that there are other schools out there that wouldn’t be accepting or would be quite fundamental with their approach but I’m very blessed with my school, I really am.”

This Is Me comes out February 2022.

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