I have been working with the organisation EmpathyLab since 2016 and am a huge supporter and enthusiast of their work. EmpathyLab works with schools on a tried and tested programme that places emotions and empathy at the heart of literacy. Children read books through an ’empathy lens’ resulting in better classroom behaviour, better social communication, higher literacy levels and a desire for social action to improve things.
I regularly deliver training on behalf of EmpathyLab to authors and teachers, and have also run specific empathy-based events at Hay Festival, the Oxford Literary Festival, and for the Cambridge Big Read and Write (which was live-streamed and you can view the recording here).
I love visiting schools and talking about my books but I also offer talks that focus specifically on empathy: its importance and how to increase it.
Times are hard for everyone, and young people are no exception. During the pandemic, thousands of children missed out on vital social experiences. As a result, many teachers and schools are finding their classrooms contain more complex issues and needs than ever before. Outside of the classroom, children are subjected to a society polarised on all kinds of issues: the monarchy, social media responsibility, transgender inclusion and the NHS to name a few.
In my Empathy Events, I use specially-created empathy exercises that are interactive and fun. I use role-playing and drama games to explain how empathy works, and I give examples from books that show the children how connecting with fictional characters and worlds can help them to improve their own. My aim is that by the end of the event, the children have learned how to listen to and understand other points of view.
I offer a one-hour talk/interactive workshop for any number of children aged between 7 and 13 and I can do up to three talks in one day.
If you would like to book me for an Empathy Event, please get in touch with Authors Aloud which handles my events booking.