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

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Review: The Heartbeat Of The Land

This stunning picture book takes us into the beauty and grandeur of Australia’s landscape as seen through the eyes of a young Cathy Freeman, whose destiny is to run.

Cathy ran barefoot every day across the great ancient land, as her people had done for sixty thousand years before.

As Cathy runs, she feels the heartbeat of the land through the very fibres of her being. 

So when this heartbeat stops and she asks the land what is wrong, young Cathy listens carefully and understands that she has a job to do. 

She must gather seeds from grasses and plants, and spread those seeds across the land.

This is a big-hearted book with a timeless message and gorgeous presentation. Taking the life of our iconic and adored Cathy Freeman, and turning it into an inspirational tale of resilience and hope, is just perfect.

If the notion of children as activists, healers and educators doesn’t give you goosebumps and instil a sense of awe, then the illustrations definitely will, beginning with the endpapers. These are exquisitely created to sit with the story – seeds and pods at the beginning of the book, and vibrant native, colourful flowers at the end.

Each stroke of the paintbrush and mark of the pastel or pencil, is deliberate, colourful and wonderful. The colour palette is Australia at its finest – with some spectacular sunrises and sunsets along with glorious, vast spaciousness.

An uplifting and empowering book with a call to action for us all. Highly recommended.

Title: The Heartbeat Of The Land
Author: Cathy Freeman
Co-Author: Coral Vass
Illustrator: Tannya Harricks
Publisher: Larrikin, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922503848
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book