Thursday, June 11, 2020

My Top 3 Books to Support C.A.R.E.S. (Part 4: Empathy)

At the beginning of each year, there are always a few students who stand out to me. Shock me. Who are they?  The kids who show empathy to others.

The child who sees a new child cry because she misses her mom and walks up to that child and says, "I miss my mom too.  But you'll see her at 3." Then proceeds to share a tip with her: "Bring a picture of your family in and keep it in your desk. When I get sad like you, I take it out and hug it."

Clearly, this child was empathetic. This child continued to impress me throughout the year with her empathy and compassion for others.  Her innate ability to know what to say and to make children (and adults!) feel that she really understood what they were going through astounded me.

People: this sweet girl was just five years old when she came into my class. FIVE YEARS OLD.

She obviously learned these skills from watching her parents.  No doubt.

If we want empathetic and compassionate children, we must show them what it looks like. Sounds like. Each and every day.

Most kids can't grasp the concept at this age but, by the end of the year, you may see some changed behaviors. Some light bulb moments!

I've worked hard to use the word EMPATHY or EMPATHETIC each day in my classroom.  Whether it's referencing my actions, what I'm observing in others, or pointing out a character's empathy in a book.

Books are the perfect way to introduce EMPATHY and I have a few gems to recommend.

NOTE: You can easily Google and find dozens of book lists to support teaching empathy in your classroom. Because of that, I'm just going to highlight the top 3 books that have served my students well.

1. Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill

I was gifted this book on Valentine's Day when it was released two years ago.  It skyrocketed onto The New York Times Bestseller list and after the first few pages, you just know you MUST HAVE IT!

It will FOREVER be used by me to introduce what Empathy is...what it looks like. So perfectly perfect for the K-2 crowd!

Tanisha spills grape juice all over her dress.  The class laughs at her- except for the child telling the story (Nameless. Not entirely sure if a girl or boy but since I "think" a girl, I'll go with that here.)

Instead, she tells Tanisha that purple is her favorite color.  She paints "purple splotches" for Tanisha and sits by her.  

Later, she wonders if she did enough: Should she have given her a napkin?  Her sweatshirt? Should she have spilled her juice too so people would laugh at her instead of Tanisha?  

Then the child asks us directly, "What does it mean to be kind?" and gives simple examples. 

She acknowledges it's not always easy to do the right thing...the kind thing and although she may not be able to solve Tanisha's purple juice problem, she can sit with her in class and paint purple flowers for Tanisha because she knows purple is her favorite color and Tanisha likes flowers.

She hopes that kindness can "spill out of our school" and spread.  (Great intro to Random Acts of Kindness here!)

Love the last picture!  A must-read to your class. Make sure your school librarian purchases multiple copies of this book! 

2. Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

This is such a fun and fantastic book that is at least 10 years old. One of my all-time favorite picture books. Check out the trailer and then go directly to your local bookstore or Amazon and treat yourself. Today. :)

3. Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise and illustrated by Christopher Santoro

This book is realllly old but still holds up today. 

Charlie was born a happy and carefree caterpillar. He was loving life until he was repeatedly told by monkeys, rabbits, and an mice playing games together that he was UGLY. And they didn't want to be seen with an ugly caterpillar.

Poor Charlie!

Right away, kids can identify with kids being mean and not welcoming them into a group or activity.

Charlie transforms into a butterfly and the same characters don't recognize him but beg to play with him now that he is so beautiful. Of course he refuses knowing they aren't real friends.

He hears "Katie the Caterpillar" crying because she's being mistreated in the same way. He tells her he KNOWS EXACTLY HOW SHE FEELS and then shows her what's it store for her:

Isn't that the sweetest picture?  Genius on the illustrator's part.  And I am embarrassed to admit this: I never noticed that Charlie was behind Katie with his wings reflecting in the water until one of my students pointed it out.  Gulp.  True. 

Besides empathy, friendship, loyalty, assertiveness...all have a voice in these books.

Tomorrow, I'll bring you my Top 3 books I use to showcase SELF-CONTROL.

Follow me over on Instagram by clicking here

Hope to see you over there!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's chat!