By Wendy Elliott
Coldbrook illustrator Ron Lightburn has just had his twelfth picture book, Roll On: Rick Hansen Wheels Around the World, published. It tells the story of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion world tour.
Lightburn arranged for members of a Canning family to pose for several of his illustrations last year. The local connection is Hannah Corkum and her twin sister Josie, along with their mom, Shelley.
“Hannah lives with cerebral palsy,” said Lightburn. “They participated in the Wheels In Motion fund raising event for the Rick Hansen Foundation in Wolfville in the summer of 2010.”
He added that Shelley Corkum helped out by sitting in for Rick Hansen.
“It was a really neat experience for us,” she said.
The book is out on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Hansen's compelling 43,000-kilometre journey. Retold for young readers, it is a story of triumph, adventure, and enormous personal challenge.
Readers also discover little-known facts about the tour. They learn that Hansen wheeled the equivalent of three marathons a day and went through 94 pairs of gloves.
Hansen travelled through 34 countries over two years and two months and he raised over $26 million for spinal cord research, rehabilitation and wheelchair sports.
Inside the cover of Lightburn’s copy, Hansen wrote, “this story will help inspire a new generation of Difference Makers to believe in themselves and have the courage to try and make a positive difference in the world.”
Roll On is written by Ainslie Manson. Signed copies are available at R.D. Chisholm’s in Kentville, Coles in New Minas, the Box of Delights in Wolfville and The Inside Story, Greenwood.
Lightburn illustrated his first children’s picture book, which was the prize-winning Waiting for the Whales, in 1991. His books have been published in eight countries and seven languages.
During the past 30 years, his artwork has graced the covers of over 60 books and has been featured in magazines, calendars and posters across North America.
His book, How Smudge Came, has recently been published in a Chinese edition. It was first published in 1995 and has since been published in US, Australian, Danish, Japanese and German editions with sales of over 300,000 copies.
Lightburn studied at the Alberta College of Art. He has been a resident of Nova Scotia since 1997.