Posted: Friday 1st June 2018
On Tuesday June 12 2018 Hertfordshire Libraries will be celebrating Empathy Day.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. As explained by Mark Ruffalo in the following clip from Sesame Street - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pGDdoF0ZZ0
Empathy Day promotes how reading books can help young people to build empathy. Empathy is a key social and emotional skill which can be learned – no one is born with a fixed quantity of it. In identifying with book characters and their circumstances, readers can build real-life empathy by learning to see things from other points of view.
EmpathyLab have put together a great list of #ReadforEmpathy books for 4–11-year-olds, chosen to help young people to build empathy through reading. The featured books offer powerful insights into other people’s feelings, and will help develop understanding of different ways of life and issues people face, like being bereaved or becoming a refugee. These titles are available to borrow from Hertfordshire Libraries and can be found on our Empathy Day booklist which includes a brief description of each book.
EmpathyLab’s top tips to help children to get the most out of these and other titles include:
- Focus on characters - Try focusing on the characters more than the plots. Ask gentle questions about the characters’ feelings.
- Take reflective time - Try to give children reflective time – listen carefully as they explore what they’ve learnt from the book, about themselves and other people.
- Ask great questions - Ask questions which open up a deep dialogue and treat children as equals – 'Which character interested you most?' 'How do you think the character felt?'
- Start a discussion – Which book characters have you felt empathy for?
- Wordless picture books - Look out for wordless picture books. They’re a powerful way to help children dig deeper into feelings and experiences that build empathy.
- Empathy in action - Look for books with themes which inspire children to become social activists. Research shows that empathy is a big factor in inspiring us to take action for social justice.
- Help recognise feelings - Help children recognise and name feelings. As you talk, pick up on new words and share what they mean, e.g. 'I’m wondering how Digger is feeling... maybe a bit lost and alone?'
For more information visit: http://www.empathylab.uk/