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.

“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

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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