Discover the EmpathyLab 2020 Read for Empathy Collection with Brent Libraries

EmpathyLab has announced the 50 books chosen by expert judges for the 2020 Read for Empathy collection.

Some illuminate the experience of people from a range of cultures or life circumstances. Others help children explore emotions, so they can understand how other people feel. Several reflect stories of our time, such as the refugee experience, or coping with anxiety (according to the NHS Digital report, Nov 2018, one in eight children in England have a mental health disorder).

They range from picture books and poetry to graphic and verse novels, divided into two collections, one for primary and one for secondary age children and young adults.

“Scientific research shows that reading builds empathy. So let’s use stories to help the rising generation develop superb empathy skills, and build a better world. It’s our best hope for the future.”

EmpathyLab Judging panel

What is Empathy?

Empathy is our ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings – to see things from their perspective and feel what they feel. It is an essential life skill, crucial if our young people and communities are to thrive.

We aren’t born with a fixed quantity of empathy – it’s a skill we can learn.

Excitingly, research shows that books are a powerful tool to develop it, because in identifying with book characters, young people learn to see things from other points of view. As they read, they are building their empathy skills.

Discovering the collections

There are two collections, one for primary school (KS1-2) with 33 books for 4-11 year-olds and one for secondary (KS3-4), with 17 books for 12-16 year-olds.

You can download guides to both collections, featuring full title lists from the EmpathyLab website.

The full collection will be available to borrow from Brent libraries in the run-up to Empathy Day on 9 June. Browse the Brent Libraries catalogue to find titles currently available.

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