I want my children to be kind — now and as adults. Kindness grows from understanding both ourselves and others which leads, very importantly, to empathy.
So how do we nurture kindness and empathy in our children?
Books. Start with books.
Let’s Talk About Nurturing Empathy in Our Kids
Reading not only helps us understand ourselves better, it also expands our understanding of other people and their lives. In books, we can travel and live many different lives. In books, we’re exposed to new worlds and new ideas.
“Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
– Anne Lamott
Books For Better is a campaign from the amazing All The Wonders desires “to give families and teachers a resource to find great read aloud books that celebrate diversity, compassion and inclusiveness.”
“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.”
– Susan Sontag
The task is simple.
In particular, read books about people who are different than you. Read books in different genres than you usually do. Read out of your comfort zone.
The new National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang, challenges kids to this get-out-of-your-comfort zone Reading Without Walls assignment:
1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.
Because it’s not just the words that change our lives. It’s what we do with those words. It’s our take-aways.
Twitter Chat Monday October 3
Join All the Wonder’s Matt Winner and Lauren Davis and me this Monday October 3 at 8pm EST on Twitter. We’ll talk more about specific strategies for developing empathy with your children and recommend excellent books that celebrate diversity, compassion, and inclusiveness. Use the hashtag #ATWchat and #BooksForBetter.
Good blossoms from our kindness and compassion for others. I look forward to chatting with you on Twitter more about this!
All The Wonders
If you don’t already know them, you’ll want to check out All The Wonders who showcases great books and fabulous authors in blog, podcast, and video formats and is developed and written by an incredibly talented team. I’m positive you’ll love it!
also read: How to Use Picture Books with Guided Play