Tamara J Whittaker (text) and Connie Mavromatis (illustrator), Born to Fly, Self published, February 2019, 32pp., RRP $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780648441502
People die but our relationships with them continue forever. Born to Fly explores this special connection for bereaved parents and families who have experienced pregnancy, baby and child loss.
Told from the perspective of the child who has passed away, Born to Fly aims to provide hope and comfort to parents and families, while sparking conversations for all those affected by loss, including young siblings. With bright, bold illustrations by Connie Mavromatis, the book is a heartfelt celebration of how our precious ones are forever with us “because we are family.”
Born to Fly is the first picture book for author Tamara J Whittaker, who lost her son at over five months gestation in 2011 after experiencing several miscarriages. The author’s deep connection to the work is evident: ‘One in four pregnancies end in loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, making heartbreaking choices, sudden infant death, IVF struggles, accidents, trauma or neonatal death,’ Whittaker says. ‘You are either sadly that one, or chances are you know someone who is. This book is for you, for me, for parents, children, grandparents, friends and families all affected by loss of any kind.’
Book-ended by a memorial page that allows personalisation and a ‘Remembering Me’ page, Born to Fly is likely to become a cherished keepsake for families experiencing profound loss. There are many picture books that touch on the indescribable grief of losing an infant or child. Each new title, like Born to Fly, adds to the mosaic of these experiences, greatly enriching an inclusive narrative of hope, healing and love.
Reviewed by Maura Pierlot