Books for Empathy

Today on Lounge, we are supporting Empathy Day with the 7 children's books below. If you're to familiar with its aims, founder Miranda McKearney explains, “Empathy Day started as a small scale experiment in a handful of schools. But the idea has caught fire because so many people are convinced that the cultivation of empathy is a beacon of hope in our divided world. Helping children learn about empathy lays strong foundations for resisting prejudice and intolerance. Part of the answer is sitting on our bookshelves  - neuroscience research shows that the emotions we feel for book characters wires our brains to have the same sort of sensitivity towards real people” 

You can download the Empathy Guide with all 21 recommended books here.

Loneliness, compassion and valuing difference are key themes of this story. How would if feel to be the beast alone in a world of humans who reject you? 

By Barroux

Three polar bears adrift on a melting ice sheet urgently need a new home, but they are turned away everywhere they go. Why? Lots to discuss in this deceptively simple picture book.

Ossiri and the Bala Mengro (Child's Play Library)
By Richard O'Neill, Katharine Quarmby

Stories can tackle prejudice by helping children understand how other people live. Ossiri is a Traveller girl whose funny, imaginative story brings illuminating insights into Travelling culture. 

This hilarious, vivid poetry collection has some wonderful poems about relationships and families, great for exploring feelings.

Welcome to Nowhere
By Elizabeth Laird

Omar isjust a normal boy who loves mobile phones, but his life is turned upside down by war in Syria. Laird’svivid and authentic writing makes it easy to empathise with his refugee camp experiences. 

The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson

An intriguing mystery about a missing toddler, seen through the eyes of Matthew, who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Real emotional insight wrapped into a romping read

Anne Hibiscus, small, delightful and bolshy, is growing up in Africa and dealing with strong feelings. Her grandfather won’t wake up, and her twin brothers are horribly boisterous.