We’ve Got This!
Rashmi Sirdeshpande with EmpathyLab, illustrated by Juliana Eigner
Words & Pictures
One of the most important life skills children need to develop is empathy and this book is intended to help them do that. How exciting it is to have a book emphasising the power of reading to boost empathy and to read this in Sir Michael Morpurgo’s foreword: ‘ Books and stories to me are the key to empathy and understanding everyone. They are the pathway to understanding people as individuals. Read books. Enjoy books. And, most of all, learn from books.’
Readers of this particular book will assuredly do so. Empathy, we read at the outset is a ’real superpower’ and herein youngsters are offered a six-step process that uses case studies, empathy exercises and activities, to supercharge their empathy. Participating along with readers on this exciting journey are members of the Sharma family – mum Shivaji and her children, Isha and Rahul.
There are pieces by a number of well-known authors – Cressida Cowell, Malorie Blackman, Jacqueline Wilson, Sue Cheung (aka Sue Pickford), Jen Carney, Manon Steffan Ros, Ben Davis, Patrice Lawrence, Nadia Shireen,
Abigail Balfe, Dom Conlon, SF Said and Joseph Coelho, all of whom are affiliated with EmpathyLab. And there are examples from books by other writers in the fourth step Learn to Recognise Emotions, where one of the ideas is to be an emotions detective as you read. From the next section, I love this example of ‘super questioning between Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.
The text is chatty and child-friendly, and Juliana Eigner’s inclusive, often gently humorous illustrations are engaging. (Further resources are listed at the back of the book.)
A must for all KS2 school children, classroom collections and I think lots of adults would do well to read it too.