Published 19.01.2024
by Kids’ Own

Kids’ Own Publishing Unveils Inspiring Books by Traveller and Roma Children in Cork

In an exciting collaboration, Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, along with the Cork Traveller Visibility Group and the Cork STAR project, is delighted to launch two captivating books, “Grow Up Strong” and “The Real Us,” featuring stories and artwork created by Traveller and Roma children in Cork. The launch event will take place at Nano Nagle Place on Thursday, November 25th, from 11 am to 1 pm, with the honourable presence of the Lord Mayor of Cork, who will formally unveil the books.

“Grow Up Strong” provides a glimpse into the lives and experiences of Traveller children, while “The Real Us” shares the perspectives of Roma children, offering unique insights into their daily lives. Both books were developed in partnership with Cork Traveller Visibility Group, TUSLA Education Support Service, and the Cork STAR project.

Throughout 12 weeks of creative sessions, the young participants collaborated with Kids’ Own Associate Artist Francesca Hutchinson, and Associate Writers Daniel Brennan and Mary Branley. The children shared their stories and experimented with unconventional materials like latex, PVA, clay, and found objects to create stunning artwork.

The titles of the books were chosen by the young creators themselves. “Grow Up Strong” reflects the confidence-building lessons learned from their mothers, one participant said “Our mum teaches us to have confidence in ourselves. She teaches us to grow up strong, even if people are talking behind your back”,  while “The Real Us” challenges stereotypes about the aspirations of Roma youth, they say “We are stereotyped too often, and people think we don’t want education or to do anything with our lives. But the opposite is true.”

In addition to the book launch, a teaching and learning resource for teachers, accompanying these books, will also be introduced. This resource, developed by artists and teachers, aims to support the use of these young people’s creations in classrooms.

Ciara Gallagher, CEO and Creative Director of Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, expressed pride in publishing these vibrant books, highlighting the importance of amplifying the voices and creativity of young people from Traveller and Roma communities. She said  “Kids’ Own loved working with and getting to know these two inspiring groups of young people while making these books together. We are so proud to publish these books that offer unique insights into the young people’s lives. These young people have important things to say and we are delighted to promote their voices and their creativity, which is so evident in these vibrant books. As Ireland’s only dedicated publisher of books by children, Kids’ Own’s work is about supporting children and young people to be visible and listened to more widely. As a society, we really need to hear, and listen to, the voices of young people from Traveller and Roma communities more widely.”


The project received funding from the RTE Toy Show Appeal and the Community Foundation for Ireland, with additional support from the Cork STAR Project, Cork Traveller Visibility Group, and Tusla Education Support Service. Dan O’Shea, Regional Manager of Tusla Education Support Service said, “The main aim of this project was to hear the voices of the young Traveller and Roma students from Cork City schools and this was facilitated through the medium of creative art by Kids Own. The accompanying resource pack will be a great asset to teachers across the country and it is hoped that we can continue to build on the participation, retention and attendance of Traveller and Roma children in our schools.”

Cork Traveller Visibility Group added, “This work celebrates the voices of the children of the Traveller and Roma communities. This creative innovative project created a safe space where these children’s voices and experiences formed an integral component of the work. It’s empowering, it’s challenging and it’s endearing. It celebrates empowerment and self expression and it’s authentically delivered through the voice of the child. TVG were delighted to be able to play a role in facilitating this valuable children centred piece of work which celebrates Traveller and Roma children’s voices and promotes positive visibility’.

You can read more about this fantastic project here: