Empathy Day was founded by EmpathyLab as an annual event after a very successful pilot programme in 2017. It's focus is to use reading as a tool to promote empathy and build understanding toward other people, as scientific research as proven that reading books causes us to think more deeply and considerately about others. Books have a unique property. They allow the reader to step into another life and view the world from a different perspective, perhaps even a perspective that they would not experience apart from reading. They can challenge prejudice and help create understanding. In a world so filled with division and suspicion, the ability to step outside our own experience, even for a moment can make a world of difference in the lives of so many children, wherever they may be.
EmpathyLab has created events, programmes and, most importantly a reading list to help you...ALL OF YOU...take part.
"EmpathyLab is a new organisation. We are incubating an empathy, literature and social action programme for 4-11 year olds. We aim to make a real difference to thousands of children’s lives, story by story." EmpathyLab
There are an incredible number of excellent book recommendations out there to help foster empathy and understanding in young people. But I do have to add my voice with a few recommendations.
The Glump and the Peeble by Wendy Meddour (illustrated by Rebecca Ashdown) is a wonderful picture book about being appreciated and understood for who you are, and being comfortable in your own skin. Quirky, filled with delight and humour...it's a warm and wonderful book to share.
The Song From Somewhere Else by AF Harrold (illsutrationsby Levi Pinfold) examines the depth of curiosity and conflict when encountering someone who is, well, different. Friendship, suspicion, putting yourself on the line for another and overcoming the seemingly impossible are eloquently explored in this very special book.
The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is simply stunning verse novel that covers feelings of alienation and loss, while developing into a wondrous coming-of-age novel. It shows quiet courage and strength without being weighed down by sentimentality as the story of one girls' journey from her homeland unfolds.
Check out the EmpathyLab for more suggestions, and join in the discussion on Twitter! What will you read for Empathy Day?