The EmpathyLab Read for Empathy book collection includes books by some of the world’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators. Selected by expert judges, the 65 books for 3-16-year-olds, chosen for their empathy-building insights, will be used in homes, schools and libraries in a focused drive, to help young people learn more about empathy - and put it into action.

The Read for Empathy collection and the annual Empathy Day on Thursday 8 June 2023, focus on using books – and talking about them - to build an understanding of the importance, and practice, of empathy. The non-profit EmpathyLab launched in 2015, and these are now key planks in its mission to raise an empathy-educated generation, empowered to build a less divided world.

The 2023 Read for Empathy collection is based on scientific research showing that empathy is learnable, and that books and stories are an important empathy-building tool: identifying with fictional characters’ feelings helps build real-life empathy.

Guides to the 2023 Read for Empathy collection are available as free downloads from:

EmpathyLab’s founder, Miranda McKearney OBE, said: “Each of the collection’s wonderful books has been chosen to do a specific empathy-building job, giving educators practical tools to raise an empathy-educated generation. Imagine the power of every child being inspired to learn about the importance of empathy, and develop this critical life skill – the future would be in safe hands.”

Read for Empathy books for children aged 3–11:

Understanding and Sharing Emotions
Sometimes I’m a Baby Bear, Sometimes I’m a Snail by Moira Butterfield & Gwen Millward
What If, Pig? by Linzie Hunter 
Sometimes I Am Furious by Timothy Knapman & Joe Berger 
The River by Tom Percival 
Storm Goliath by James Sellick & Craig Shuttlewood
Everybody Has Feelings by Jon Burgerman 
The Stompysaurus by Rachel Bright & Chris Chatterton

Picture Books
I Am the Subway by Kim Hyo-Eun
Our Tower by Joseph Coelho, Illustrator Richard Johnson 
Saving the Butterfly by Helen Cooper
That’s Nice. Love by Owen Gent
The Can Caravan by Richard O'Neill, Illustrator Cindy Kang
The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton
The Queen on Our Corner by Lucy Christopher, Illustrator Nia Tudor 
Valentine's Guest House by Sam Sharland
Yes You Can, Cow! by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Illustrator Rikin Parekh

Early Readers
All to Play For by Eve Ainsworth
Sidney Makes a Wish by Lisa Thompson 
Nikhil and Jay: The Star Birthday by Chitra Soundar
The Boy Who Grew a Tree by Polly Ho-Yen, Illustrator Sojung Kim-McCarthy 

First Questions and Answers: What is Racism? by Katie Daynes, Jordan Akpojaro, Illustrator Sandhya Prabhat
Who Are You? by Smriti Halls, Illustrator Ali Pye

Graphic Novels
Frankie's World by Aoife Dooley
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, Illustrator Jeet Zdung
The Awakening Storm (City of Dragon 1) by Jaimal Yogis, Illustrator Vivian Truong

The Tide Singer by Eloise Williams
Call Me Lion by Camilla Chester
Can You Feel the Noise? by Stewart Foster
Children of the Benin Kingdom by Dinah Orji 
Cuckoo Summer by Jonathan Tulloch 
Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs? by Simon Packham 
Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu by Maisie Chan 
Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy by Sufiya Ahmed 
The Boy Who Lied by Kim Slater
The Good Turn by Sharna Jackson
The Last Firefox by Lee Newbery [also available in Welsh]

Cloud Soup by Kate Wakeling, Illustrator Elina Braslina 
Courage In a Poem by Cecilia Knapp, Debjani Chatterjee, Valerie Bloom, Mandy Coe and 16 others, Illustrators Annalise Barber, Mariana Roldan, Masha Manapov, Nabila Adani
Here Be Monsters by Jay Hulme, Illustrator Sahar Haghoo 
This Is How the Change Begins by Nicola Davies

Read for Empathy books for young people aged 12–16:

Fight Back by A.M. Dassu
Nisha's War by Dan Smith 
No Man's Land by Joanna Nadin
Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron 
Read Between the Lies by Malcolm Duffy
Run for Your Life by Jane Mitchell
The Light in Everything by Katya Balen
The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean
This Is My Truth by Yasmin Rahman
Tyger by S F Said, Illustrator Dave McKean 
When I See Blue by Lily Bailey
When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando
When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, Illustrator Natalie Sirett 

Graphic Novels
The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag 
The Golden Hour by Niki Smith 

Queer Up by Alexis Caught
You Can Do It by Marcus Rashford, Carl Anka

Short Novels
Needle by Patrice Lawrence
Evolution by Zelda Conway
The Dream House by Laura Dockrill 

Picture Books
What Do You See When You Look at A Tree? by Emma Carlisle

Let's Chase Stars Together by Matt Goodfellow
These are the Words by Nikita Gill

Short Stories
Happy Here introduced by Sharna Jackson

Verse Novels
The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani