Monday, 7 June 2021

Walking in Someone Else's Shoes: Making An Empathy Resolution

Long time readers of my blog will know how much I believe in the power that books have to develop empathy in their readers. A scroll through my 'reading for empathy' tag reveals many posts and book reviews centring around the idea that reading books can change the way we understand the lives of others, and even to share in their experiences to some extent. In fact, so many of the children's books I choose to read are up to the task of developing empathy in their readers that I've even stopped using the tag, instead I've been adding them to my list on

As a teacher and a parent, I am particularly interested in how the books we provide for the children in our care can develop them into more empathetic human beings - I've even spoken at a conference about it! So when Empathy Lab and their Empathy Day came into being, I was really excited that this concept was being taken seriously.

This time Empathy Day on the 10th June is going to be bigger and better than ever, with activities for all to get involved in:

  • READ – Use empathy-rich books to deepen your understanding of other people. 
  • CONNECT – Go on an Empathy Walk and connect to the reality of your local community.
  • ACT – Use your increased understanding to help change things. Make an Empathy Resolution.
Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author of books such as How to Change The World, How to be Extraordinary and the excellent forthcoming Good News (Why the World is Not As Bad as You Think), has shared her Empathy Resolution to inspire us all in the run up to Empathy Day, and it is one that we could probably all do with making!

Thinking back on all the books I've read recently, there has definitely been a theme which has inspired my own Empathy Resolution. Books such as Wolfstongue by Sam Thompson, Between Sea and Sky by Nicola Penfold, Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty, Show Us Who You Are and A Kind of Spark, both by Elle McNicoll, have made me think about how well we listen to everyone's voices, especially those who are denied a platform or who are misunderstood and marginalised.

My Empathy Resolution is to seek out authentic own voices who share life experiences that are different to my own.

In order to get thinking about your own empathy resolution, Empathy Lab have put together several fantastic resources:
  1. First of all, I'd recommended a peruse of the latest Read for Empathy Collection ( and even a browse of the previous iterations (there are now 4). These lists will give you more than enough ideas for what to read in order to get you started on your Reading for Empathy journey.
  2. Secondly, if you work in a school or early years setting, there are resource packs to download and use Schools and early years settings: free toolkits and wonderfully creative resources are now available. Just send an email headed ‘Toolkit’ to, or
  3. Or, if you are a parent, you can download a free, powerful Family Activities Pack with ten empathy boosting activities.
  4. Books aren't the only source of reading material! Empathy Lab have commissioned twelve new empathy-boosting short stories from leading children’s writers! Click here to access the stories from authors such as Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Jenny Pearson and Sue Cheung.
  5. Last but certainly not least, you can tune into Empathy Day Live! on 19th June: The day promises a packed line up featuring Cressida Cowell, Rob Biddulph, Malorie Blackman, Bali Rai,  Holly Bourne, Joseph Coelho, Jion Sheibani, Jacqueline Wilson, Patrice Lawrence, Jane Porter, Manjeet Mann, A. M. Dassu, Adisa, Michelle Robinson, Jay Hulme, Kwame Alexander, Eloise Williams, Michael Morpurgo, Nathan Bryon, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Michael Rosen, David Baddiel, Catherine Johnson and Professor Robin Banerjee!

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