Northampton Press

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PRESS PHOTOS BY DEB BOYLAN Australian author Leanne Shea Langdown shows off her cheerleading squad's PRESS PHOTOS BY DEB BOYLAN Australian author Leanne Shea Langdown shows off her cheerleading squad's "poms" during a talk given to the Bath Lions cheerleaders at George Wolf Elementary School in Bath Feb. 6. The Bath Lions cheerleaders were the inspiration for Shea Langdown's "Cheer Chick Charlie" children's book series and related line of merchandise. Cheer teams are not common in Australia.
Members of the Bath Lions cheerleading squad gather around author Leanne Shea Langdown as she shares photos of her Australian cheer team, Good Shepherd Cheerleading, following a presentation at George Wolf Elementary School in Bath Feb. 6. Shea Langdown declared the Bath and Australian squad Members of the Bath Lions cheerleading squad gather around author Leanne Shea Langdown as she shares photos of her Australian cheer team, Good Shepherd Cheerleading, following a presentation at George Wolf Elementary School in Bath Feb. 6. Shea Langdown declared the Bath and Australian squad "sister teams." The two groups plan on sharing photos and communication online.

Australian author visits

Thursday, February 21, 2013 by CHRIS ZWEIFEL Special to The Press in Local News

Cheerleaders inspire book

Leanne Shea Langdown doesn't have snow where she lives.

She doesn't run into any deer or skunks either, but occasionally she has to slow down for a kangaroo crossing the road.

Shea Langdown is from down under, and it took her 19 hours by plane and two hours by car to reach young audiences in the Northampton Area School District.

Shea Langdown spoke to students at George Wolf and Siegfried elementary schools about life in Australia and introduced them to her new series of children's books, "Cheer Chick Charlie." She also taught students the basic elements of achieving any goal.

"You must have commitment, a spirit for it, and belief that anything is possible," she told third graders at Siegfried earlier this month.

The author and business owner was most excited about meeting with the Bath Lions cheerleading squad. It was the kindness and welcoming spirit of this group of cheerleaders back in 2007 that planted the seed for Shea Langdown and her family to take cheerleading back to Australia. Their visit gave them the inspiration to create a school-based squad in Canberra.

While in the U.S. to attend a wedding, Shea Langdown's daughter, Tahlia, a third-grader at the time, attended a Bath-East Allen cheerleading practice. When the pair arrived home, Shea langdown's daughter said to her, "Mummy, it's my dream to be a cheerleader."

Since cheerleading was an uncommon sport in Australia, there were no opportunities for her daughter.

"What may not seem possible today could be possible tomorrow," she told her daughter.

And so, Shea Langdown founded the Good Shepherd Primary School cheer team in 2008. Using the Internet, books and DVDs, she created the cheering uniform. The squad won trophies at its first competition. She coached for four years in all age groups.

There are now 100 competitive cheerleaders in that school and Shea Langdown is the squads' principal adviser.

From that, Shea Langdown created "Cheer Chick Charlie" to show that anything is possible. With Charlie now being introduced to the U.S. via the New York Toy Fair this month, and with possibilities of U.S.-based publishing deals, an animated series and contracts with major U.S. retailers, "that little seed planted in 2007 could well turn into a mighty forest."

She said she loves where she lives, joking that Australia should make her the tourism ambassador.

She also emphasized how much she loves the Northampton and Bath communities.

"You have given us so much," she said.

"Everybody has something to offer," Shea Langdown said. "We all have something special, and we need to recognize that in each other. All of us have got a little cheerleader inside of us. All of us should motivate and inspire each other."

To check out Charlie for yourself and subscribe to her website go to www.CheerChickCharlie.com.