East Surrey

2021 Read For Empathy book collection revealed

2021 Read For Empathy book collection revealed

The current pandemic has brought ‘empathy’ into public discourse more than ever before – Kamala Harris walking on to the winning stage with ‘The people have chosen empathy’ as a  backdrop; and Marcus Rashford showing empathy for hungry children and putting this into action with his food poverty campaign.

So it is timely that not-for-profit organisation EmpathyLab have revealed their 2021 Read For Empathy book collection after an expert judging panel weighed up hundreds of publisher submissions to select 50 of the very best contemporary empathy-boosting books for 4-16 year olds.

The aim is for schools, libraries, families and community groups to use the books to help raise a generation with strong empathy skills.

Read for empathy books for children aged 4-11

Picture books
Hello, Friend! Rebecca Cobb, Macmillan Children’s Books
Umbrella Elena Arevalo Melville, Scallywag Press
The Suitcase Chris Naylor-Ballesteros, Nosy Crow
Tibble and Grandpa Wendy Meddour & Daniel Egnéus, Oxford University Press
Felix After the Rain Dunja Jogan, translator Olivia Hellewell, Tiny Owl
Maia and What Matters Tine Mortier & Kaatje Vermeire, translator David Colmer, Book Island
Clean Up! Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola, Puffin
Ride the Wind Nicola Davies & Salvatore Rubbino, Walker Books
Once Upon a Dragon’s Fire Beatrice Blue, Frances Lincoln
The Lost Homework Richard O’Neill & Kirsti Beautyman, Child’s Play
How to Change the World Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Annabel Tempest, Puffin
Rain Before Rainbows Smriti Halls & David Litchfield, Walker Books

Early readers
The Boy in the Jam Jar Joyce Dunbar, illustrator John Shelley, Bloomsbury Education
Too Small Tola Atinuke, illustrator Onyinye Iwu, Walker Books
Five Ways to Make a Friend Gillian Cross, illustrator Sarah Horne, Barrington Stoke

Poetry
Belonging Street Mandy Coe, Otter-Barry Books
Bright Bursts of Colour Matt Goodfellow, illustrator Aleksei Bitskoff, Bloomsbury Education
Poems Aloud Joseph Coelho & Daniel Gray-Barnett, Wide-Eyed Editions
This Rock, That Rock Dom Conlon & Vivianne Schwarz, Troika Books

Graphic novel
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy Rey Terciero & Bre Indigo, Little Brown

Novels
The Space We’re In Katya Balen, illustrator Laura Carlin, Bloomsbury Children’s Books
The Time of Green Magic Hilary McKay, Macmillan Children’s Books
The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates Jenny Pearson, illustrator Rob Biddulph, Usborne
Talking to the Moon S. E. Durrant, Nosy Crow
A Kind of Spark Elle McNicoll, Knights Of Media
Freedom Catherine Johnson, Scholastic
The Star Outside My Window Onjali Q. Raúf, Orion Children’s Books
The Faraway Truth Janae Marks, Chicken House 
Windrush Child Benjamin Zephaniah, Scholastic
The Taylor Turbochaser David Baddiel, HarperCollins 

Read for empathy books for young people aged 12-16

Novels
Tin Boy Steve Cole, illustrator Oriol Vidal, Barrington Stoke
The Last Paper Crane Kerry Drewery, illustrator Natsko Seki, Hot Key Books
Eight Pieces of Silva Patrice Lawrence, Hodder Children’s Books
I Was Born for This Alice Oseman, HarperCollins
The Gone Book Helena Close, Little Island Books
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly Danielle Jawando, Simon & Schuster
On the Come Up Angie Thomas, Walker Books
A House Without Walls Elizabeth Laird, Macmillan Children’s Books
Chinglish Sue Cheung, Andersen Press
Scavengers Darren Simpson, Usborne
Boy, Everywhere A. M. Dassu, Old Barn Books

Graphic novel
When Stars Are Scattered Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed, Faber

Short stories
Look Both Ways Jason Reynolds, Knights Of Media

Poetry/prose
Clouds Cannot Cover Us Jay Hulme, Troika Books
A Hurricane in my Head Matt Abbott, Bloomsbury Education
The Undefeated Kwame Alexander & Kadir Nelson, Andersen Press
The Missing Michael Rosen, Walker Books

Verse novels
Gloves Off Louisa Reid, Guppy Books
Run, Rebel Manjeet Mann, Penguin Books
Clap When You Land Elizabeth Acevedo, Hot Key Books

This year’s Empathy Day is on 10 June – make sure you put it in the diary! To find out more click here.