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Read Manchester celebrates Empathy Day 2024

Empathy day image Manchester school

Children and young people from across Manchester have been learning how to boost their empathy superpowers this week in celebration of Empathy Day on 6 June 2024.

Empathy Day inspires children to learn more about empathy and put it into action. It shines a light on the role of books in developing empathy to create a better world.

A special event at The Stoller Hall

On Wednesday 5 June, 300 pupils from five local primary schools made their way to The Stoller Hall for an exclusive author event, delivered by Read Manchester in partnership with Empathy Lab.

Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 took part in interactive sessions with three inspiring authors – Steven Lenton, Emma Norry and Tom Percival. Children drew their own ‘empathy characters’, talked to each other about what makes them proud, and explored themes including poverty, inequality and race.

The event was hosted by poet Paul Jenkins, who introduced pupils to the Mission Empathy Challenge. This calls on them to celebrate and develop their empathy superpower in three simple steps: Read, Connect and Act.

School children at empathy day event Mcr

The feedback from pupils on the day was overwhelmingly positive and they were excited to share what they learnt.

One pupil said: "you should always put yourself in other people's shoes before you judge them.”

Another said: "be kind and listen when other people are saying something."

Every child took home a copy of The Last Bear by Hannah Gold or Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star by Laura Noakes, kindly gifted by HarperCollins.

Children with books empathy day Mcr

We were delighted to be joined at the event by some of our Literacy Champions who helped to give out book packs and support the children with the literacy activities in their packs.

Girl with book empathy day Mcr

Empathy Day events across Manchester

To spread the power of empathy to more children across the city, all three authors delivered additional sessions at libraries and schools throughout the week of Empathy Day.

Emma Norry led an event at Gorton Library on Tuesday, Tom Percival inspired pupils from two schools at Abraham Moss school theatre on Wednesday afternoon, and Steven Lenton delivered sessions at Benchill School and Forum Library on Thursday.

Empathy day authors at Mcr school

Empathy-themed story times were also held across Manchester libraries, celebrating classic children's picture book Elmer.

Get involved

Find out more about Empathy Day, download empathy reading recommendations and get involved in the Mission Empathy Challenge on the Empathy Lab website.

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