Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, author Malorie Blackman and illustrator Rob Biddulph are among the names spearheading the Empathy Day programme on 9th June.
Organised by not-for-profit EmpathyLab, which uses books to help children experience empathy’s transformational power, the programme will be delivered online to inspire children and families. It will be preceded by a fortnight of family activities, empathy-themed online readings, illustrations and specially written stories.
On the day itself, events begin at 9.30am with Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell introducing Empathy Day, followed by a themed draw-along with Rob Biddulph, “Empathy Charades” with Joseph Coelho, a poetry challenge with Sarah Crossan, and listening exercises with Jo Cotterill and Robin Stevens.
Authors Onjali Rauf and Sita Brahmachari round off the day with a session on putting empathy into action, inspiring everyone to make Empathy Resolution posters for their windows.
Finally, an evening event with Cressida Cowell, Muhammad Khan and psychologist Professor Robin Banerjee aimed at parents, teachers and librarians will address the science that drives EmpathyLab.
EmpathyLab founder Miranda McKearney said: “Empathy is a vital human force, and in these past challenging weeks we’ve seen its power to fuel community and generosity. Empathy Day is all about understanding people’s feelings and acting to help. Since the science shows reading’s power to build real-life empathy, it’s fantastic to see leading authors and illustrators step up to lead a new empathy drive just when it ’s needed most. We hope that children and families will be inspired by the programme we’ve created.”
Also this year, a Countdown Fortnight begins from 26th May with a family activities pack featuring 14 writing, drawing, crafting, listening and reading activities to complete in the two-weeks before the day itself.