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Empathy Conference

From July 14-July 16, there will be a conference at Mansfield College in Oxford, England. This is the 3rd conference from the Empathy Project and people from all over the world attend. At this conference, speakers discuss how people communicate with each other through literature and other arts. They talk about how empathy is represented in books, children’s and adult, as well as film and art piece. The Empathy Project discuss people’s ability to empathize and whether it is a skill to be learned or something we are born with.
There are different talks throughout the day, Empathy 1, Empathy 2, and Empathy 3, where various professionals will be discussing empathy. Empathy 3 is the most relevant to my guiding questions. In the conference, speakers will be discussing how empathy is represented in life through story telling: novels, short stories, plays, online stories, and picture books. The main question it is addressing is how does empathy play a role in “the narrative arts of literature”.
The conference answers my questions about the representation of empathy in children’s literature because speakers vary from authors, philosophers, publishers, and advocates for literature. It brings great insight into literature and the presence of empathy in writing.
Fairbarin, S., & Fisher, R. (n.d.). Call for Presentations. Retrieved July 06, 2016, from http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/ethos/empathy/call-for-presentations/

Character Education Through Literature

In the academic journal Childhood Education, researchers Young, Hadaway, and Ward wrote an article about character values and how they are represented in children’s books internationally. They discussed wisdom, justice, transcendence, humanity, courage, and temperance. In children’s books, characters often face moral dilemmas, difficult situations, and relatable life events. The writers discuss how books about character values can be written anyway while also being applicable to children all over the world.

I found the article to be incredibly useful because Young, Hadaway, and Ward broke down all 6 character traits they identified in books with definitions and examples of representations of each in literature. In addition, the writers provided the readers with lists of book suggestions that highlight each trait. For example, for courage, they suggested books such as Gervelie’s Journey: A Refugee Diary, Fatty Legs, and Beatrice’s Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum. They also provided a list of all the books and documented the awards they won. All of the books were chosen from different countries around the world.

It relates to my topic because empathy is being expanded to many character values and applied in many multicultural texts. The list of books is extensive with great descriptions about the themes and connections to empathy.

 

Young, T. A., Hadaway, N. L., & Ward, B. A. (2013). International children’s trade books: Building blocks for character education. Childhood Education, 89(6), 379+. Retrieved from https://stmarys-ca.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA352487932&v=2.1&u=mora54187&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=13e7d75e3ab69d272f2d5ce01deb6f27

Guiding Questions

How is empathy represented throughout children’s literature?

  1. How is conflict resolution represented in children’s stories?
  2. Are there picture books that teach students about empathy?
  3. Which authors focus primarily on children’s literature and problem solving?

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