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Image / Editorial

Break The Mould: Sinéad Burke to release new children’s book this autumn


by Jennifer McShane
28th May 2020
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To add yet another string to her bow, Sinéad Burke will release her children’s book Break the Mould: How To Take Your Place In The World this autumn. Is there anything this woman can’t do? 


Published in October this year and illustrated by Natalie Byrne, it’s suitable for readers aged eight upwards and has been described by its publishers at Hachette Children’s Group as “empowering”.

Frankly, we’d expect nothing less from this Irish icon.

She is many things: an advocate, activist, teacher, and a British Vogue Contributing Editor. She also happens to be a little person at three and a half feet tall. Reflecting on her experiences growing up, Sinéad offers a heartfelt and inspiring guide to young readers on believing in themselves and finding comfort and pride in their own skin. From the power of being different and discovering self-love, to inspiring children to use their voices to be an ally and show friendship to others, Sinéad helps readers break the mould and find their place in the world.

Born in Dublin, she is – and has always been  interested in making the world a more equitable place. Her career began in the classroom, teaching children from ages to four to twelve. Sinéad received the Vere Foster Medal for Teaching by Trinity College, Dublin but this desire to create equality and access couldn’t be contained to the classroom. With a Masters in Broadcast Production, Sinéad understood the power of storytelling and as a disabled woman, became aware of the lack of representation in television, museums, dolls, books and fashion.

She is also responsible for the introduction of the word ‘duine beag‘, meaning little person, into the Irish language. She has collaborated with Lottie Dolls to create the first little person doll, and with the National Museums of Scotland to create the first little person mannequin.

And who could forget back in September 2019, when she became the first little person to ever feature on the cover of Vogue magazine? Selected by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, Sinéad is a true force for change.

‘There’s a phrase that I use; one that’s almost become a mantra, ‘Who is not in the room?’ As a teacher and as a person who loves to read, so often it has been my experience that libraries and bookshelves were void of stories like mine,” she explained of her upcoming book.  “People like me were rarely the protagonist and it is with great pride and more than a hint of nervousness that I reflect on some of my most challenging and unpredictable experiences within this book. Using my lived experience as a case study to create empathy and to understand the value of kindness, this book will help all readers realise that even though our bodies, thoughts and interests are different, there is so much that unites us and well, anything is possible.”

We can’t wait.

Break the Mould: How To Take Your Place In The World will be published by Hatchette Children’s Group on October 15th 2020


Read more: ‘Coming out of cocooning feels like I have to start all over again’

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