Monday, September 5, 2016

Teaching Empathy

     My email mailbox is often full of book offers, newsletters from publishers, advertisements for the newest and latest books coming to a store near you.   That’s good.  I’m not complaining.  Books are my thing. I do still purchase children’s picturebooks even though I’m old. Every once in awhile I take a chance on something sight unseen. This book arrived yesterday.  This is one I took a chance on and I am so glad. 
     Our world is getting smaller by the day and we can’t hide from that.  There are millions of people who are caught in the middle in war zones who need to get out.  All of our countries have been asked to take in refugees.  We see their plight on the news at night.  We see horrifying pictures of children caught in the crossfire of the emigrant and refugee life.  We hear the newscasters explaining to us what we see.  But how do we explain these images to a child?  How do we explain what it might be like to leave everything and travel by night and in secret and in the trust of strangers to escape to a strange and hopefully safe place?
     Author Francesca Sanna explains in her author notes that she met some children in a refugee center in Italy and after talking to them realized there are many stories out there, all different yet all the same.  She took these personal stories and put them into the mouth of a child to tell us.
     I didn’t receive this book for free with the promise to give it time and space on my blog.  I purchased this book and it was so movingly told and brilliantly illustrated I wanted to tell you about it.  This is a hard thing to explain to a child but empathy is a necessary thing.   And this book, The Journey, does it so well.


  1. Sounds like a winner--will have to see this one :)

  2. Empathy is hard, it means we feel and can no longer ignore. Brilliant concept in sharing stories. I recently heard a lecture on the radio by a writer titled..."Why writing matters. " I listened as he started to expand on why writing is integral to our society and then he took us to the plights of those refugees that Australia has seen fit to incarcerate because they took to the seas to escape. The lecture was brilliant and I cannot do it justice, but it was certainly powerful and bringing in the stories of those who we try to ignore shows us that indeed writing is what tells the stories that matter. Well done on finding that book to show others.