When Greg Filaseta wrote a story for an assignment as a junior at Hauppauge High School, people told him he should try to get it published. Nine years after graduating in 2001, Filaseta's book, Be Yourself is now available for purchase.
The new author has remained a part of the Hauppauge district since his graduation. While attending college at Hofstra University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education & Sports Sciences as well as a Master's degree in Health Education, he worked as a coach. Filaseta currently coaches boys' soccer and lacrosse and has been a substitute for the last three years.
Although he wasn't a huge reader as a child, he was a fan of Shel Silverstein's work, an author who is known for his funny and entertaining books of poetry such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic.
That same whimsical style can be seen in this Christmas tale. The 32-page book is full of colorful drawings and written in rhyme. It tells the story of Santa's struggle to lose weight after he has trouble donning his famous red suit.
An excerpt reads, "As Santa suited up, the elves loaded his sleigh, but he noticed that his pants would not come up all the way. He stood there in awe and could not figure out why, his big red pants would not come up past his thigh."
"As a coach and a future teacher, I see first-hand how peer pressure plays a major role in the decisions kids make," the author said. "Unfortunately, many children do things because they want to fit in. Many adolescents are unhappy with the way they look because society tells them they should look a certain way. My book teaches kids to be happy with who they are and 'be themselves.'"
One of his inspirations was his former teacher, Pamela Carr, who has since retired. He recalls that she always encouraged creativity and brought the best out of her students. Filaseta dedicated the book in her honor.
Since his high school days, he has a new-found passion for reading that he hopes to share with younger students. He believes that "when students feel that you genuinely are interested in them succeeding, and they feel comfortable around you, they are more willing to open up and more willing to learn."
Filaseta has a ton of other ideas for books in the future but is waiting to see how his first one fares before pursuing other projects. He is currently looking to do some readings at local schools.
Be Yourself is available for purchase on Xlibris.com. In a few weeks it will also be available on the Borders and Barnes and Noble websites.