Published 11.05.2021
by Kids’ Own

Kids’ Own launches Can’t Lose Cant!

On Thursday the 29th of April we were delighted to celebrate the launch of our reprint of Can’t Lose Cant. Can’t Lose Cant is a classic Kids’ Own publication which celebrates and promotes the importance of the Cant language, also known as Gammon or Shelta.

The launch was co-hosted by Sligo Traveller Support Group on their Facebook page last week. The book was officially launched by Senator Eileen Flynn, who noted her hopes for Can’t Lose Cant as an educational resource, and called on the government to value and invest in Traveller culture and language, saying “I hope today is a starting point for our language to be celebrated and embraced as something to be proud of.”

A panel discussion featuring Kids’ Own Associate Writer Mary Branley, writer Oein DeBhairduin, primary school teacher Annmarie Collins, and manager of Sligo Traveller Support Group, Bernadette Maughan took place after the official launch. The discussion was chaired by Creative Director of Kids’ Own, Jo Holmwood, and Men’s Development Worker at Sligo Traveller Support Group Jamie Murphy.

The discussion encompassed a range of issues such as the need for the passing of the Traveller Culture and History in Education Bill, the need to hear Traveller children’s voices, and to have books and resources on Traveller culture in every classroom in Ireland.

Mary Branley gave an overview of Kids’ Own’s rich history of creating and publishing books with Traveller children and their families and communities over twenty years. She spoke about Kids’ Own’s desire to continue working alongside the Traveller community “in whatever way we can support, artistically and with young people, to celebrate Traveller culture, to celebrate the language, and to really be supportive in broadcasting the absolute talent and the spirit of Traveller people”.

Annmarie Collins spoke of the great confidence boost for Traveller children when they see these books, and emphasised that teachers can start now in their explorations of Traveller culture, using these books as resources. Oein DeBhairduin spoke of the real need of Traveller children: “We’ve established there is a want but there’s also a need for children to hear and see themselves in the curriculum… our language is a gatekeeper of ancient traditions we haven’t had the opportunity to celebrate”. Bernadette Maughan recognised the value of Kids’ Own’s work in publishing books with Traveller children and their communities over twenty years ago, saying “At that time it wasn’t really seen as a thing to do in Ireland but thankfully the wheel has turned and now it’s accepted that these are things that are needed within the classroom”. She also spoke about the importance of educators hearing the unspoken within the classroom, what children are not saying, referencing the toll the pandemic has taken, particularly on ethnic minorities.

To watch the full discussion, please click here.

You can buy Can’t Lose Cant from our online bookshop by clicking here. We are also offering complimentary copies for a limited period and if you would like to receive a copy of the book, please contact [email protected].

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