Sinéad Burke is an Irish teacher, fashion journalist and writer. She describes herself as ‘a little person’, meaning that she has achondroplasia, or (as she herself states) dwarfism. Her book is a combination of two elements, an autobiography and a manual for those who feel different in their lives. She explains how important it is to have dreams alongside the differences that mark an individual. Unlike some books of a similar nature Burke does not shy away from the fact that she has faced darker times. She also understands that a disabled reader may do likewise.
It is important to emphasise that Burke’s book is intended for the general reader, not just for readers who happen to share the same impairment as the author – which is an attribute too common among such publications. The book is designed to help young people with different physical or intellectual difficulties succeed without minimising the impact of those impairments. Her voice is strong and reassuring. Yet her narrative rings with the truth of someone who has faced the serious problems of disability.
One of Natalie Byrne’s illustrations shows a person in a wheelchair holding a banner for Black Lives Matter. A disabled person socially engaged: what an unusual and revolutionary notion – an illustration unique in this reviewer’s wide experience. Every school library should have a copy of Burke’s book.