Children’s laureate Lauren Child and author-illustrator Benji Davies are taking part at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly to mark this year’s Empathy Day, which will take place on 12th June.
Child and Davies will talk about empathy and children’s books alongside psychology expert Professor Robin Banerjee for this year’s event, which has undergone a “major expansion”, according to founder Miranda McKearney.
“Scientific research shows that books expand our real-life empathy, and Empathy Day harnesses this power,” she said. “Books are such an important way of allowing young minds to imagine lives beyond their own; how they would cope in a crisis; if they were a refugee, an orphan, or had just lost someone they loved.”
For the first time, the Booksellers’ Association is helping run events at five independent bookshops: The Book Nook in Hove, Tales on Moon Lane in Lambeth, Alligator’s Mouth in Richmond, Booka in Oswestry and Button & Bear in Shrewsbury. More than 50 libraries are also taking part and “dozens” of authors, including Bali Rai, Helen Moss, Gillian Cross and Sita Brahmachari.
McKearney launched Empathy Day in 2017 through her EmpathyLab organisation after becoming concerned about a rise in hate crimes.
She has created a 2018 Read for Empathy Guide with library suppliers Peters, which helps children expand their understanding of other people’s lives and perspectives.