Empathy Day

A little under a month ago (seriously, where does the time go?) I set up camp at the Children’s Central Library in Sheffield for an evening for Empathy Day. It was good. No, it was brilliant. It was made up of young readers from Sheffield’s amazing Chatterbooks reading group network and they came from all over the city and beyond. It had sold out very, very quickly too, which is always a lovely thing.

So we looked at the books they’d been reading and we put ourselves the characters’ shoes and that made for some really interesting discussion and, ultimately, some really amazing work because the subject matter was so varied (and makes me love what’s happening in YA fiction (and what has happened – one of the books was a Judy Bloom novel)). We had characters with OCD, autism – we had bullying – all sorts. And I often say that one of most important things we can do as people is think about what other people might be feeling – it’s a sort of an essential kindness that we all deserve, and something we’d all want if we were struggling. Actually, we don’t have to be struggling – it can be just as important for us to appreciate why someone might be happy about something.

I loved the evening. It was something different and interesting and I met brilliant and talented and caring young people who made brilliant art and stories. And, once we were done, we converted the stories into word clouds for display (thank you Alexis and Tina).

And here they are… Stay caring, people. And be kind.

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