Read for Empathy 2022 :: NEWS
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Read for Empathy 2022

26 January 2022 Share


Today EmpathyLab launches its 2022 Read For Empathy book collection

60 books for 4-16 year olds are featured, each chosen to do a specific job in building young people’s empathy.  The primary collection is for 4-11 year olds and consists of 35 books; the secondary collection features 25 books for 12-16 year olds. This year’s Empathy Reading list for children and young people provides an opportunity for gaining improved awareness in response to national and international issues in the news.

The pandemic raised awareness about loneliness, isolation, depression and poverty. Food banks were much in demand. The suffering of Afghan people and life for refugees was front page news for some time and is still ongoing. Thus, this year’s Empathy Reading list in response to the news asks for kindness, understanding, support and how we can make a difference. It offers tools through reading and support resources from the Empathy Lab’s website that can help with rebuilding communities and actions for community groups and schools.

Guides to the collection are available as free downloads for parents, teachers and librarians to use with children and young people in the home or learning settings.  

Empathy Day 2022

The Read for Empathy collections will be used by parents, teachers and librarians in the run up to Empathy Day on 9 June and beyond to instil empathy values and skills. This annual event focuses on using books – and talking about them – to build understanding of the importance and practice of empathy. This year’s theme is Empathy, Our Human Superpower. For more information visit the EmpathyLab site.

Training for those working with young people   

  • As well as the book collection, EmpathyLab is running training for teachers and library staff in the run up to Empathy Day on 9 June. The sessions happen on 10 and 11 March and are run in partnership with the University of Cambridge.  For SLA members do claim your 10% discount and book here.
  • The SLA have a webinar - free for SLA members. 

Run by Sarah Mears MBE, Libraries Connected Programme Manager, this webinar will highlight the newly launched 2022 #ReadforEmpathy book collection  

Sarah will be talking about some of her favourite books in the collection and explain the ‘empathy angles’ that guided their selection and the skills they hope that using the books will build. She will be suggesting ways to use the collection within an empathy context - describing the connections between empathy and reading and what happens in the brain when we read. Finally, she will be sharing some of the exciting plans Empathy Lab have for Empathy Day 2022 on 9 June and giving some tips for getting involved and highlighting the toolkits that will be available to support schools and families.

Book here.


The Judging Process

As one of the team from schools, libraries and the wider book world I had the privilege of reading many books in the lead up to the decision of what to include. All the books we read could have been included, but there was simply not enough space. So difficult decisions had to be made in a couple of meetings to flesh out what we couldn't do without and what might best benefit children and young people in today's strange world. What we agreed we hope you too will choose to read to your pupils, your family and to recommend when you know someone else is going through a similar experience, or simply to build on empathy skills for future challenges.


Dawn Woods,

Member Development Librarian, SLA