I found out that today is Empathy day. I didn’t even know that existed but I do love the idea of encouraging us all to be more empathetic as I know it will make the world a better place and we all need that at the moment. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a skill that can be learnt and research shows that we gain a lot of our empathy skills from reading.
I like the fact the Empathy Lab who set up this day recommend books for children to read to develop empathy and was not surprised to see that their list included one of my favourite and most gifted books, the brilliant Wonder by R.J Palacio. When it came out I had read about it and knew it was my type of book but hadn’t got round to reading it but when the teenage daughter, who I adore, of one of my dear friends asked if I had read it and told me to as she knew I would enjoy it I put it to the top of my list. She was right, it was brilliant and a great example of the power of friendship, importance of kindness and the impact we have on others. If you haven’t read it I would highly recommend you do. I won’t spoil it but there was one bit which I was so upset by I couldn’t sleep that night. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy it either but it is obviously a good book to read and discuss with your children if you do. My emotional reaction to this book shows exactly why reading can teach us about empathy. I hope we have all been lucky enough to read books that we get so emotionally invested in the characters lives we feel their pain and want them to heal/recover and live a better life, and this can help us understand situations we have no experience of and can help us become better people and see things from a different perspective which is definitely a life skill.
You can find out more about the day, books to read and watch a video defining empathy by the brilliant Brené Brown via https://www.empathylab.uk/empathy-and-stories
I would love to hear from you what books have helped you develop empathy and if you read Wonder do let me know what you think.
Take care and keep well