2017 saw the first Empathy Day; a celebration established by the brilliant EmpathyLab team, to show how reading empathy-boosting stories and poems can help challenge prejudice and nurture connections between us all. There are lots of brilliant bits available should you wish to get involved with next week’s 2018 celebrations; we’d recommend EmpathyLab’s ‘Read for Empathy‘ guide, and their general resources page which includes activities for schools and libraries.
Hopefully lots of schools will be celebrating Empathy Day on June 12th, but of course we are conscious of empathy all year round. Here are a couple of good reads which in particular embrace empathy and we also recommend giving this article by the always inspiring Jon Biddle a read as his school have been heavily involved in EmpathyLab from an early stage and he writes wonderfully about the successes he’s had in his classroom:
- Illegal by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
A graphic novel about a fictional boy’s hazardous journey from Africa to Europe, but the authors tell us at the end that every element in it is based on real events.
The reader gets caught up in the horrendous experiences young Ebo goes through, and is relieved by the hopeful and uplifting end.
(Hodder, £10.99 paperback, ISBN 9781444937696, find it at a Norfolk Library)
- Tin by Padraig Kenny
An unusual steampunk story where the country is populated by a mixture of humans and robots, called ‘mechanicals’. But after an appalling event, all the latter should legally only be ‘children’ and compliance with this rule is closely monitored by the government. There is such close cross-over in emotions and intelligence between the mechanicals and the humans who have made them that it can be difficult to distinguish – and who has the right to destroy or create either? An interesting almost philosophical discussion could result from this.
(Chicken House, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781911077657, find it at a Norfolk Library)
You can find our archive of Friday Reads here.