'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 31 March 2018

Review: Free

Flynn is in a wheelchair. Since the accident his world has been his room. He reluctantly agrees to join mum on a visit to the park which was his favourite spot, but is now a foreign place. That’s where he sees the bird. Free in flight, light and drifting, he wishes he could be like that bird instead of anchored to his chair.

A strange dream comes to him that night that helps him shake off his sense of helplessness. Inspired by this dream, he finds he can visualize being free, and become like the bird; able to soar and sweep to freedom on wings.

This is an empowering and transforming book. Filled with hope and possibilities, it shows to children and others swallowed by dark thoughts and hopelessness, how to restore an optimistic view of life filled with light through visualization.

This gorgeous book with its strong messages produced by Empowering Resources also draws attention to the purpose and intention of this publisher: to create children’s books with issues that children of all ages face and fear.

Aleesah Darlison’s carefully chosen, poignant and poetic text, adds atmosphere and deep meaning to the story.

The stunning illustrations perfectly portray what the boy and mother are experiencing. The wistful eyes of Flynn when the bird doesn’t visit reflect his pain. The positive and encouraging attitude of the mother at all times shows she isn’t giving up. The deep purple shadowed sunset and the boy’s drooping head as they turn for home is a picture of his disappointment. And the pages full of light as Flynn imagines himself free and flying is the breaking open of sorrow being replaced by joy.

Although the only characters mentioned in the text are Flynn, the mother and the bird, I was captive to the presence of the dog on every double spread and single page. He silently reflects the boy’s emotions, and is there as a constant companion and comfort to Flynn, always sharing what he is feeling, and simply being there.

Title: Free
Author: Aleesah Darlison
Illustrator: Belinda Elliott
Publisher: Empowering Resources
Publication Date: December 2017, $17.00
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925592085
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book