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Empathy Day 2018'

Thursday, 31st May 2018

Read stories. Build empathy. Make a better world.


Get ready for Empathy Day – 12 June 2018

EmpathyLab has announced that 12th June 2018 will be National Empathy Day. After a highly successful 2017 pilot, the Day will now be an annual, national event every June.

Founder Miranda McKearney OBE says: “In our darkening and divided world, empathy

is a beacon of hope. Empathy Day is a galvanising focal point for us all, a reminder that

striving to understand other people is a powerful way to make the world a better place.

Books are a potent tool to build it because neuroscience research shows that the emotions

we feel for book characters wires our brains to have the same sort of sensitivity towards

real people”.


Southend on Sea Libraries are supporting Empathy Day

Empathy Day has a major focus on using books as a tool to challenge prejudice and build

connections between us.


It’s about helping children realise that Empathy is like having a special superpower. It helps you understand how other people are feeling, and that helps make the places we live and learn in much better and happier.


Families at Storyrhymes (held in all Southend Libraries) enjoy a great bonding time with their young children whiles singing nursery rhymes and listening to stories. They will be asked to take part in Face-to-Face rhymes because looking into parents’ eyes is critical to developing early empathy which is important for healthy emotional development. Dan Siegal, a psychologist specialising in early parental bonding, says: every child yearns for, and must have, this eye contact for healthy emotional development to occur.


There are lots of great books for developing empathy held in Southend Libraries. Here is a few suggestions:

Picture Books: Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival, Lulu gets a cat by Anna McQuinn

Stories for older readers: Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Poetry: Overheard in a Tower Block by Joseph Coelho


Those in the book industry and people living and working with children are particularly encouraged to join in on the Day, along with the wider public.


Read: parents and teachers can use a special Read for Empathy Guide, available from

from  to find specially selected stories and poetry to help build

4-11 year olds’ empathy.


Share virtually: use #ReadforEmpathy to join in a massive social media campaign in

which everyone - including authors and celebrities - shares empathy-boosting book


For more information on this and wider EmpathyLab plans contact


About EmpathyLab

EmpathyLab is a new not-for-profit organisation founded by Miranda McKearney OBE, who also founded The Reading Agency. It targets 4-11 year olds, their parents and teachers, providing training and resources to harness the power of stories to develop empathy. It is working with 14 pioneer primary schools, developing approaches to teaching children empathy skills whilst also improving their literacy and inspiring them to get active in the community.


@EmpathyLabUK #EmpathyDay #ReadforEmpathy




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