Born to Run
Penguin Random House Australia, 2021
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary
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- Cultural heroes
- Family relationships
- Sporting competitions
Cathy Freeman will forever be remembered for winning a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 for the 400-metre race. How did she go from being a little girl who loved running to becoming an inspiration to people around the world? This is Cathy Freeman’s personal story, in picture book form. It was adapted from her autobiography for older readers, ‘Born to Run: My Story, an Autobiography’ (Penguin Books Australia, 2007). Both reveal Cathy’s lifetime struggles, moments of failure and her determination to win.
As a young girl, Cathy revelled in the love of her big family. She credited her older sister, Anne-Marie, as her inspiration. Anne-Marie was born with cerebral palsy and lived in an institution that provided the special care she needed. Charmaine Ledden-Lewis’ illustrations capture the emotional highs and lows of competitive racing. She also reveals the beauty of the Australian landscape where as a child Cathy ran in the sand without shoes. Later images capture the race tracks where practice and competitions take place and exuberant crowds cheer the runners. There are examples of racism towards Aboriginal People. These inspired Cathy to become the ‘world’s greatest athlete’.
Four years after her retirement from competitive running in 2003, she began the Cathy Freeman Foundation to help young people gain education and opportunities. Cathy’s ‘top tips’ for life offer inspirational messages to young readers such as ‘everyone feels a little scared or lonely sometimes.’
Cathy Freeman is a Kuku Yalanji and Birri Gubba woman. Illustrator Charmaine Ledden-Lewis is a descendant of the Bundjalung people on the Clarence River in Northern New South Wales.
- ABC News Australia. Leigh Sales interviews Cathy Freeman, ‘Olympian Cathy Freeman writes children's book to encourage kids to believe in themselves’, 7.30 Report, 29 October 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPITnjUgSp0
- Penguin Books Australia. ‘Born to Run by Cathy Freeman and Charmaine Ledden-Lewis, Read aloud by the illustrator’, 11 Nov 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDn1YIC7MsI
- Wikipedia entry for Cathy Freeman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathy_Freeman
- Gropper, Ali, ‘What’s the hottest trend in book publishing right now?’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Jul 2021 (Discusses the recent rise of children’s books by First Nations People by several publishers) https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/briggs-turns-author-i-wish-i-d-had-a-book-like-this-when-i-was-a-kid-20210625-p584av.html
- Cathy Freeman Foundation and UNICEF Australia team up for youth to provide training and skills development for up to 80 local students, with 10 to receive tailored personalised guidance, as part of the partnership which prioritises adolescents in remote communities. https://www.unicef.org.au/about-us/media/june-2021/cathy-freeman-foundation