Exploring the Origins of Cora From Follow Your Heart by Sareen Ali
Title: Exploring the Origins of Cora From Follow Your Heart
By: Sareen Ali
Cora’s journey began very organically in the cosy Black Bird Coffee Café in Marseille, France. She is the main character in The Story of Cora found at the beginning of the book, Follow Your Heart – the school for multipotentialites (FYH). With soft curly hair, a small button nose and a big friendly smile, Cora is at once memorable and relatable. It is through her troubled aquamarine eyes that we get to experience the complex emotions of trying to answer society’s burning question, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”. Unlike many other students in her class, Cora is confused about what she wants to be in the future. By discovering and reading a book called FYH, she gains the wisdom to understand that she can be anything and everything she wants to be and doesn’t have to mould her passions to fit only one career path.
This is an enlightening message for both the young and young-at-heart.
Cora is the brainchild of Emily Murray, a global health researcher, ECO_CARE team member and co-author of FYH. While working as an intern on the original FYH manuscript that was designed to teach researchers and instructors about multipotentiality, Emily reflected on her own childhood insecurities which inspired her to create the character, Cora. Much like her, Emily also had numerous interests growing up however social pressures to conform to a dominant career like medicine, siloed her passions. It would take a personal tragedy for Emily to step away from the rat race and re-evaluate her purpose in life. What started out as a creative outlet quickly became a therapeutic journey of discovery for Emily. In a case of life imitating art, Cora has emboldened Emily to embrace her inner-multipotentiality and stay grounded in her individuality.
The Story of Cora has been so well-received by children and adults alike that there are plans to expand on the original storyline. The authors are working on an idea to create a series of books that aim to bring cultural awareness and inclusion to children by introducing Cora’s friends from around the world. Cora and the Arctic is one such book. Another in the pipeline is The Story of Tao that will be set in China. It is built on the childhood experiences of another ECO_CARE intern, Giuliano Bertolotto Bianc, from the University of Torino and it will expand on the multipotentiality theme. In addition, there are also plans to create an audiovisual component to the book called ‘Cora Connects’. This platform will potentially be used for podcasts that will include interviews from successful multipotentialites elaborating on their journeys to “becoming me”. There might also be short easily digestible videos for children that expand on complex emotional and environmental concepts such as grief, climate change, etc.
Emily attests that her creation of Cora and her ambitious plans for the future are made possible through the unwavering support and encouragement of her fellow co-authors, Margherita Paola Poto and Valentina Russo. This is an endearing example of the possibilities that exist when women have the power to guide and uplift other women. By creating a non-judgmental, compassionate environment that nurtures freedom of thought and expression, as well as authenticity and inner talents, Margherita and Valentina are championing multipotentialites like Emily and others to embrace their full potential while contributing to the holistic advancement of society.
The Story of Cora, illustrated by Valentina Russo, 2022.
This post can be cited as: Sareen Ali, Exploring the origins of Cora from Follow Your Heart, July 3, 2023.