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NEWS: Read for Empathy 2022 Collection Announced


“Science shows that empathy is learnable and that reading is an important empathy-building tool. This collection will help parents and educators to surround children with empathy experiences, inspiring them to understand others better, and tackle societal problems like racism.” EmpathyLab Founder Miranda McKearney OBE.


Today EmpathyLab launches its 2022 Read for Empathy book collection at a time when empathy has never been needed more. An expert judging panel has selected 60 books for 4-16 year-olds, each chosen to empower an empathy-educated generation.


The aim of the Read for Empathy collection is for schools, libraries, families and community groups to use the books to help raise a generation with strong empathy skills. Chosen by expert judges, the primary collection features 35 books for 4-11 year olds. Many of the books help readers understand the lives of those experiencing tough situations, like becoming homeless, or a refugee. Others help children build their understanding of emotions or inspire positive action towards the climate or animals or people in their community.


The 2022 Read For Empathy book collection comes at a time when empathising with others has never been needed more. As the judges said, “Reading is a great way to raise a nourished, empathy-educated generation and helps combat the empathy deficit. Scientific research shows that identifying with fictional book characters helps readers better understand people in real-life; the collection features books with outstandingly crafted characters who will expand young people’s world view, helping them become more understanding of others and inspiring them to become socially active.”


You can download a PDF guide to the collection here. More information is available on the Empathy Lab website.


The Primary Collection is as follows:


A Shelter for Sadness Anne Booth & David Litchfield Templar Publishing

Amara and the Bats Emma Reynolds Atheneum Books

Barbara Throws a Wobbler Nadia Shireen Jonathan Cape

Can Bears Ski? Raymond Antrobus & Polly Dunbar Walker Books

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners Joanna Ho & Dung Ho HarperCollins

Last Nicola Davies Tiny Owl Publishing

Luna Loves Art Joseph Coelho & Fiona Lumbers Andersen Press

My Beautiful Voice Joseph Coelho & Allison Colpoys Frances Lincoln

Nen and the Lonely Fisherman Ian Eagleton & James Mayhew Owlet Press

The Invisible Tom Percival Simon and Schuster Children’s Books

The Proudest Blue Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K Ali & Hatem Aly Andersen Press

Tisha and the Blossom Wendy Meddour & Daniel Egnéus Oxford University Press

What Happened to You? James Catchpole & Karen George Faber & Faber

Early readers

Bumble & Snug and the Angry Pirates Mark Bradley Hodder

Narwhal’s Otter Friend Ben Clanton Farshore

The Dog That Saved the World (Cup) Phil Earle, Illustrator Elisa Paganelli Barrington Stoke

Swallow’s Kiss Sita Brahmachari, Illustrator Jane Ray Pop Up Projects

Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister Chitra Soundar, Illustrator Jen Khatun Walker Books


Being Me Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow & Laura Mucha, Illustrator Victoria Jane Wheeler Otter-Barry Books

Stars With Flaming Tails Valerie Bloom, Illustrator Ken Wilson-Max Otter-Barry Books

Graphic novel

Allergic Megan Wagner Lloyd & Michelle Mee Nutter Scholastic US

Non -Fiction

A Different Sort of Normal Abigail Balfe Puffin


A Street Dog Named Pup Gill Lewis David Fickling Books

Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths Maisie Chan, Illustrator Anh Cao Bonnier Books

Front Desk Kelly Yang Knights Of

How To Be Me Cath Howe Nosy Crow

Mayhem Mission Burhana Islam – illustrated by Farah Kahndaker Knights Of

Mohinder’s War Bali Rai Bloomsbury

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh Helen Rutter Scholastic

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant Nizrana Farook Nosy Crow

The Great (Food) Bank Heist Onjali Q Rauf – illustrated by Elisa Paganelli Barrington Stoke

The House on the Edge Alex Cotter Nosy Crow

The Last Bear Hannah Gold – illustrated by Levi Pinfold HarperCollins

The Shark Caller Zillah Bethell Usborne Publishing

The Soup Movement Ben Davis Oxford University Press


Visit the booklist here.

The Read for Empathy collections will be used by parents, teachers and librarians in the run-up to Empathy Day and beyond to support children and instil empathy values and skills. This annual event focuses on using books – and talking about them – to build understanding of the importance and practice of empathy.

On the same day as the book collection announcement, EmpathyLab announced this year’s theme which is Empathy, Our Human Superpower. Everyone is invited to join in the Empathy Superpower Challenge, choosing from a menu of nine empathy-boosting challenge activities. More information at




For more information and free guides, visit


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