EmpathyLab has revealed its 2024 Read for Empathy book collection. It features 65 books for 3-16-year-olds by authors including Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho, Hannah Gold, Phil Earle and Nadia Shireen, as well as Neil Gaiman and Jeffrey Boakye.
There are 40 recommended books for 3-11-year-olds, and 25 for 12-16-year-olds. EmpathyLab want the books to be used nationwide by those living and working with young people to help them learn more about empathy and put it into action.
The Read for Empathy collection is part of a unique and growing UK empathy education movement, using literature as a tool to develop this transformative life skill. EmpathyLab quotes research to show that empathy is learnable, and that books help to build it: identifying with fictional characters’ feelings helps build real-life empathy. The 2024 collection includes picture books, novels, poetry, non-fiction, graphic and verse novels. Each book offers young people different ways of experiencing, understanding and building empathy. Several explore the world’s big empathy issues, including war, climate change and the refugee crisis. Others help children understand different cultures and identities, name and share their emotions and gain insight into challenging life circumstances, such as being disabled or having a stammer.
You can explore the full 2024 Read for Empathy collection now.
‘Reading powerful texts with finely drawn characters matters – and that’s what the collection does’, says Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education, The Open University. ‘It offers each teacher, parent, child, librarian, brilliant books for 3-16-year-olds that entice them in, engage them in the story, and connect them to characters who explore contemporary issues – and in the process will help them develop their affective empathy.’
Free Guides to the 2024 Read for Empathy collection can be downloaded now.
EmpathyLab’s founder, Miranda McKearney OBE, says, ‘The world is in such a sad state. We see focusing on educating for empathy as a practical, hopeful step we can all take to build a better future. We dream of a world led by a generation of children educated to understand the vital role of empathy in building connection, and combatting hatred and division.’
The 2024 Read for Empathy collection can be used by parents, carers, teachers and librarians to boost young peoples’ empathy skills year-round and particularly in the run-up to Empathy Day, Thursday 6 June 2024. Teachers using EmpathyLab’s approach report that using empathy-rich texts builds mutual understanding. Impacts include improved behaviour and a culture with less racism and in which children themselves help resolve disputes.
Schools and libraries can now register for the free Empathy Day Mission Empathy resources.
Everyone can also enjoy a free online Festival, featuring live events with many of the amazing authors and illustrators included in the book collection. More details will be announced on 14 March 2024.