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Popular comedian turns to writing faith stories for children

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Author Anthony Salame bringing the Catholic faith to kids and parents at St Jerome’s, Punchbowl. Photo: Supplied

Lebanese-Australian comedian turned children’s author Anthony Salame is bringing the Catholic faith to kids across Sydney with his latest book.

St Jerome’s Catholic Church in Punchbowl hosted Salame in its primary school hall where nearly 150 excited young children and their parents gathered after Sunday Mass on 3 March to hear him read The Messiah’s Donkey and purchase a signed copy.

It tells the story of Holy Week from the point of view of Zeke, a humble donkey down on his luck who God chooses to bring Christ into Jerusalem for the last time.

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“The message is that sometimes you may be feeling sad and lonely and feeling like all hope is gone, but you can always put your faith in your heavenly father,” Salame said.

The Adelaide-born Catholic has played for laughs in stand-up comedy and on TV and radio but always hoped to write a children’s book with a serious message.

His first attempt, a picture book called J is for Jesus, aims at helping very young children connect with Christ.

“I was just trying to write a book to teach kids good lessons and I realised that all the good lessons that are engrained in me come from the faith,” he explained. “It’s amazing to hear parents say that their children go to grab a Bible to find where the scripture references in J is for Jesus came from.

“I think it’s important to create content for kids they can engage with and can really absorb.

“Sometimes parents are afraid of teaching their kids the faith thinking that it might go over their heads, but that doesn’t need to be the case. I just try to simplify it and bring these beautiful stories to a level children can understand.”

A large part of his motivation has also come from his newborn son, Raphael. “I want to create content that I’d love him to read one day when he’s old enough,” he said.

Parish priest Fr Joseph Gedeon says the parish is a growing hub for young families.

“It can be a bit noisy at times, but it’s a great sign of youth in the church and when together everyone feels welcome,” he said.

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