Cathy Freeman (text) and Charmaine Ledden-Lewis (illustrator), Born to Run (Picture Book Edition), Penguin Random House Australia, November 2021, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781761043802
A simply beautiful picture book that reminds the reader that ‘dreams can come true’. The stunning illustrations remind the reader of the highs and lows experienced along the way.
Cathy Freeman’s Born to Run picture book edition is simply inspirational. It is written in such an incredibly authentic way and is a reminder to readers that ‘dreams do indeed come true’. Cathy traces her journey from when she was a little girl to the shining moment when she not only ‘leant over to light the cauldron’ on the ‘opening night of the Sydney Olympic Games’ but to that magic moment when she won ‘the 400-METRE Olympic final, the biggest race of her entire life’. Cathy outlines the trials and tribulations that she encountered on her journey to this pivotal moment in her life and the sacrifices that needed to be made to achieve her lifelong dream.
The strength and love of family and Cathy’s connectedness to the land, her Aboriginal ancestors, and the Australian people is resoundingly impactful.
Educators are sure to use this picture book as a valuable resource during NAIDOC Week and moreover to assist their students in the exploration of the cross-curriculum priority, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.
Charmaine Ledden-Lewis is a Blue Mountains artist, and descendant of the Bundjalung people on the Clarence River in Northern NSW. Through her beautiful soft and flowing illustrations, Charmaine captures the treasure trove of emotions displayed throughout the story and the glorious moment when Cathy searches the crowd for her ‘beloved family’ and the enormous pride gained from competing for one’s own country. Cathy is a proud Australian and aboriginal woman.
The Cathy Freeman Foundation, which Cathy started in 2007, is testament to her altruistic desire to provide ‘kids’ with the education and opportunities to realise their individual goals and dreams.
Born to Run is recommended for children aged 5 to 8 years old.
Reviewed by Julie Deane