Born to Fly


Beverley McWilliams (text) and Timothy Ide (illustrator), Born to Fly, Midnight Sun Publishing, August 2019,32 pp., RRP $29.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925227567

Born to Fly is an inspirational story and beautifully presented piece of Australian history about a young Australian hero; Captain Harry Butler – a pioneer aviator.

We follow the amazing journey of Harry who was born on a farm in rural South Australia in 1889. We meet him as a child described as “only small, but he was strong, and he was smart’: A beautiful line that resonates with so many children out there.

True to life illustrations bring us back to a time in Australia when motorised inventions were feared by some -but not Harry. He was determined to fly; but how does he manage to do so with very little formal education, and the expectations to work the land just as his father had.

This story has much to offer young readers, for in learning about Harry Butler, they may be inspired by the characteristics he portrays, including, determination, self-belief, perseverance, integrity, community mindedness, and importantly, allowing yourself not only to dream, but follow your dreams.

Beverley’s words work magically with Timothy’s illustrations. They capture the beauty of Australia, and this chapter in Australian’s history with detail and thoughtfulness. Both author and illustrator offer an honest commitment to representing the world in which Harry Butler’s life is honoured, and successfully immerse us into that time period.

The inclusion of the Harry Butler’s life timeline and real photos add to the intrigue and fascination of a this young Australian hero.

An absolutely wonderful story for both adults and children to draw inspiration, and develop appreciation for an honourable Australian.

Reviewed by Sonia Bestulic. Read Sonia’s interview with author Beverley McWilliams here

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