Harmony Books, 2009, 291 pages So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to learn how rampant empathic behavior and cooperation are across the animal kingdom. De Waal bemoans political and economic institutions which ignore the fact that humans are empathic by nature. Penguin, 2009, 674 pages A large part of The Empathic Civilization is an anthropological history of empathy, provided in sometimes mind-numbing detail. Rifkin writes of another encouraging research development, suggesting that empathy can be taught. These books are all considered middle grade novels, and in general are appropriate for ages 8 and up. However,  I think 10 and up might be a better range for some of them. Wonder received so much praise when it was published a few years ago and it truly is a wonderful book. In Warp Speed we meet the same cast of characters that were introduced in the first of four companion novels, Millicent Min, Girl Genius (on my list of books for 10 year olds), and all four are worth reading. Please read Deborah Ellis, a Canadian author–she too, teaches us about others with more difficult lives than most of us in North America and Canada. That is a great book, I wish I had thought of it when I was making this list, thanks for recommending it!
He may have a point: The Age of Empathy is one of several recent books to make a persuasive case for putting empathy at the center of ideas about human nature, education, and the future of the planet.
Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and a Greater Good editorial board member, assures us that humans are by nature empathic—even when empathy does not serve our own individual interests. Rifkin believes that we humans are in a race for survival, dependent on our ability to organize around an empathic approach to our planet. He describes how as diverse communities come into greater contact with each other by moving from hunter-gatherer to agricultural-trading to industrial-technological cultures, they become more empathic toward strangers and create more open, democratic societies. He argues that they are more empathic toward the environment, more supportive of immigration, favor a bigger government role in providing social services, and are generally more engaged with their local and global community.


He highlights programs building on this insight to cultivate empathy in the next generations. Rifkin believes we must increase social consciousness and create a more empathic social order in order to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming.
If Rifkin and de Waal are correct, the next chapter of human history will be defined by our ability to nurture these empathic instincts and restructure our social, economic, and political systems in time to save the planet. 11 year old August is nervous about starting a school and making friends but he has the incredible support of his parents and his sister, and Palacio also explores the experience of growing up as the sibling of a special needs child .
A very funny and charming book about the experiences, imaginings and wishes of a deaf girl (actually everyone is a rabbit). There's More!9 Christmas Chapter Books to Read AloudClassic Summer Reading List for Tweens11 Chapter Books for Black History MonthMom’s Bookshelf, Vol. A reader emailed me and asked for a list of books which would help her child to think a little bit less about worldly goods, and a little more about the importance of appreciating non-tangible values like generosity, humility, compassion and kindness. They are books which I hope will help you start a conversation with your children about how much they have or don’t have and what that means in the larger world, as well as what actions they can take.
Indeed, following the success of books like Mary Gordon’s Roots of Empathy, The Age of Empathy joins Jeremy Rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization as two significant recent releases that move discussions of empathy out of the laboratory and into major policy debates. These stories and others indicate that the roots of empathy, like many other emotions, are not limited to humans, and in fact go far back in the evolutionary chain. The problem, as he sees it, is that the very forces that bring us together as a global community and allow our empathic connections—from communications technologies to more efficient energy production—are the same ones responsible for polluting the earth. For instance, in Gordon’s Roots of Empathy program, profiled in Greater Good a few years back, children watch interactions between mothers and their babies, and learn first-hand how to care more compassionately for another. My son listened to these audio books over and over again last summer and then in conversation he would bring up his observations about the troubles Ramona experienced and how she handled them.
The two write thoughtful letters about their wildly different experiences but across the distance they learn to see their similarities as well as appreciating those differences.


In other words, these are books which help teach children to reject a sense of privileged entitlement. I’m looking for picture books that teach about differences–specifically facial or special needs differences similar to Wonder. Her new foster family is an unusual group and despite her efforts to remain disconnected, she learns about the value of loving relationships and looking beyond appearances. However, as he travels through the area singing a little ditty about his spiffy-ness he encounters a few creatures who need his help.
This book is less about worldly goods and more about getting past our mistaken impressions of others. The race is on, he believes, to see what wins out: collective empathic action toward saving the earth or the desire for more technology and personal freedom. River worries about his absent dad, ill mother and joins his activist grandmother in the fight to save the local area from the devastation caused by coal mines.
The grandma has a ready answer about the advantages of what they do have and encourages him to think of positive aspects of lacking material goods. The story is quietly appealing and shares a valuable lesson not just about perseverance and love, but about recognizing that for many families, having a good chair is a luxury.
Marley’s self-deprecating  and humorous narration will make this book appealing to kids and Lee avoids pat and trite resolutions.
This book could so easily sink into the depressing and didactic, but Woodson’s beautiful text elevates the story into a moving reminder to show kindness every chance we get.
Jeremy feels embarrassed about the shoes he does have to wear and that doesn’t disappear, making the act of kindness even more powerful.



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