SYDNEY — Sydney catechist Caroline Fisher says writing a successful book for Catholic children has helped her spread a message of true love “too good” to keep to herself.

The mother of three who is also a naturopath and wellness speaker said her picture book, Jesus Had a Body Like Me: A Theology of the Body for Babies and Little Ones, is aimed not just at children but at those who read to them.

She is passionate about sharing with readers that each of them is a gift, every soul is sacred and, to truly nourish the body, one must also nourish the spirit within.

“God doesn’t make mistakes, and each of us matters to God and has been ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made in his image and likeness for a purpose only we can fulfill, and nobody else,” Fisher told The Catholic Weekly, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

“If only people knew this and understood the reasons behind what the Catholic Church tells us what to do and what not to do, we would not see the levels of suicide, despair and hopelessness we are seeing in our society.

“Teenagers in particular need to know this, but it’s never too early to connect the dots.”

Illustrated by Kama Towcik, the book is based on the theology of the body teachings of St. John Paul II and aims to communicate the message of God’s self-sacrificing love to babies and the very youngest of readers.

“It is a call to love and be loved,” said Fisher, as well as an effort to immerse children in what is “good, true and beautiful” in a simple and appealing way.

Jesus Had a Body Like Me also shares the natural joys of experiencing the senses, being made either male or female, and being able to identify in a bodily way with either Jesus or his mother, Mary.

Asked whether she also hoped to counteract confusing messages about sexuality and gender identity that confront young people, Fisher answered with “a resounding yes.”

“I wanted to define what true love looks like, that it involves a gift of self, of sacrifice. If we can have clarity about what love and the purpose of our body and sexuality is, then we can be much clearer and whole-hearted in our response to love, in loving God and others.”

Fisher took a leap of faith to produce and publish the book herself, and it has paid off with an “amazing response” from friends and people who have found it via Amazon.

“The best feedback has been from adults who, after reading the book to their child, say it helped them in rediscovering their faith,” she said.

Rodrigues is a reporter for The Catholic Weekly, Sydney.