Empathy Day with Graffeg

Today is Empathy Day 2023! 

Empathy day is a focal point for celebrating and growing empathy's power to create a better world. It aims to inspire children and young people to learn more about empathy through reading.

We are delighted that This is How the Change Begins, a poetry collection written by Nicola Davies, has been selected as part of The Empathy Lab's Read for Empathy Guide 2023.

The Read for Empathy Guide features 60 books for 4-16 year olds, each chosen to empower an empathy-educated generation. Many of the books help readers understand the lives of those experiencing tough situations, like becoming homeless, or a refugee. Others help children build their understanding of emotions or inspire positive action towards the climate or animals or people in their community.

This is How the Change Begins is a collection of six illuminating poems inspired by the growing threat of climate change. From a consideration of our carbon footprints by way of Islamic mathematician Alhazen, the impact shifting weather conditions are having and will continue to have on our events and celebrations and the choices we have to make to turn the tide, these remarkable poems brilliantly confront the recognisable realities of the climate crisis with bold and lyrical language. Including background notes on the themes behind them, each poem has been typographically designed and arranged to best communicate these essential messages.

'These poems are perfect for sharing, reading aloud, and using as part of learning. They are evocative – they encourage the reader to engage with the issues without lecturing by using beautiful language and rhythm to make their point.’ Michelle Armstrong-Harris, The School Librarian

'The collection is small at only six poems but oh so mighty. It's a book that makes you reflect and a book that makes you take action. It's a book that takes root in your soul and grows.' Busy Busy Learning

EmpathyLab is the first organisation to build children's empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of high-quality literature. Their strategy builds on new scientific evidence showing the power of reading to build real-life empathy skills. We believe that empathy is a beacon of hope in a divided world.

In support of Empathy Day on June 8th, here are some book recommendations:

Goodbye Hobbs

Emma Bettridge & Josephine Birch

Merlin won’t go out. Not without his best friend Hobbs. Join Merlin as he goes on an adventure to learn how to say ‘Goodbye Hobbs’.

This is a story of what it means to love and lose a friend, and to find reasons to go for a walk again. 

Molly and the Shipwreck

Malachy Doyle & Andrew Whitson

Molly and her dad rescue three people in trouble from a small boat off the coast. Though they speak different languages, the new arrivals quickly make friends with the islanders, who offer them somewhere to stay and some clothes and food. Just a few weeks later, a new challenge threatens this relationship, but will Molly and the islanders be able to help their new friends?

Choose Love

Nicola Davies & Petr Horáček

Choose Love is a cycle of poems that highlights the experience of those forced to become refugees. The core of the collection was written in 2018 as part of a project with the charity Refugee Trauma Initiative.

Only One of Me

Lisa Wells, Michelle Robinson, Tim Budgen & Catalina Echeverri

Most of us can’t imagine having the time we spend with our children cut short, but this is the reality being faced by mother of two Lisa Wells, who was diagnosed with terminal bowel and liver cancer in December 2017 at the age of 32.

Only One of Me is the product of Lisa’s lifelong love of writing and friendship with award-winning children’s author Michelle Robinson. The two collaborated on this tender and moving rhyming poem, with charming illustrations by Catalina Echeverri, which is both a love letter to Lisa’s own daughters and a testament to the unwavering strength of parental love, a timeless message for families facing the challenges of bereavement.

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