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Born to Run

By Cathy Freeman
Illustrated by Charmaine Ledden-Lewis
Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

Cathy Freeman is a Kuku Yalanji and Birri Gubba woman who now lives in Melbourne although she grew up in Queensland. Her unforgettable win at the 2000 Sydney Olympics was the highlight of a brilliant career that included a host of Commonwealth Games medals and  two world titles.

This is her story, adapted from her autobiography, taking her from cheerful beginnings running around barefoot, to chasing her brothers in a dry riverbed near home and then training at a local park.

She says: ‘It’s hard to explain the feeling I got from running. I was so quiet and shy that most of the time I let my running do the talking for me. I felt safe and strong, like I was the only person in the world.’

It was difficult moving away from her family to boarding school to focus more on her training but running had obviously become her life. The story ends with her lighting of the Olympic torch at the 200 Sydney Olympics and her epic 400 metre run.

This inspirational story is plentifully and vividly illustrated showing Cathy in all her moods from sadness at her sister’s death, winning medals, celebrating with her family. and finally with her Olympic gold. She ends her story (this part, anyway) with ten top tips for children which deserve a whole page but are tucked away at the end.

There is quite a lot of text here for a picture book but it is very accessible and attractive for its intended audience of primary school children. It strong messages of the power of self-belief, the value of a loving family and chasing your dream will appeal to many readers.

Puffin 2021


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