Created: 26th January, 2021

Empathy Lab Launches 2021 Read for Empathy Collection in Consultation with CLPE

EmpathyLab has launched the 2021 Read For Empathy book collection, after weighing up hundreds of publisher submissions to select 50 powerful empathy-boosting books for 4-16 year olds. It comes at a time when empathising with others has never been more needed. The core aim is to help anyone living or working with children raise a generation with strong empathy skills.

CLPE's Learning Programme Leaders' Charlotte Hacking and Farrah Serroukh, were invited to be special advisors to the panel and worked with Empathy Lab to consult on the Poetry collection, authorship and the quality of representation of the final book collection.

‘We know from our work with teachers and schools that access to high quality literature can be transformative for young people. The right book can set a child on the path towards lifelong reading and sow the seeds of empathy that will blossom long after the book has been read. This rich collection of titles will contribute to doing just that, at a time when it is much needed.’ Charlotte Hacking and Farrah Serroukh, CLPE

The expert Empathy Lab judging panel said, “We have an unprecedented chance to do things differently, building on the wave of community caring we’ve seen in the pandemic. This collection seizes that chance with both hands. The books will help children think “we”, not “me”. Right now, what could be more important?”

The primary collection is for 4-11 year olds and has 30 books; the secondary collection features 20 books for 12-16 year olds. Almost half of the titles are by writers or illustrators of colour. The selected titles do not shy away from exploring challenging experiences such as the trauma of domestic violence or the painful upheaval of families fleeing persecution. Such explorations provide a platform for better understanding of these lived experiences, inviting readers to see and be seen. Others books in the collections gently explore everyday situations and emotions, like friendship problems and several help readers understand and relate to the experience of living with autism. The ebullient range of creators, formats and genres helps expand children’s world view and understand others better.

Free downloadable guides are available at

EmpathyLab’s work is supported by specialist book suppliers Peters. Schools and libraries can order the books at 2021.