Manchester pupils celebrate Empathy Day 2024 with children's authors

  • Thursday 6 June 2024

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Group of three adults sitting at the front of the group holding books up in their hands, with four primary school aged children wearing red uniforms standing behind them - all smiling

Manchester primary school pupils joined children's authors for an Empathy Day celebration event

Hundreds of primary school pupils joined children's authors at a special event in Manchester this week on the eve of Empathy Day 2024 to learn all about empathy and how important it is to practice in their everyday lives when they interact with others.

Author E.L.Norry, together with author illustrators Steven Lenton and Tom Percival, joined poet Paul Jenkins to share their numerous books and stories about empathy with pupils from five of the city's schools.

The event was held to coincide with Empathy Day (June 6) - a national day which takes place annually each June and is led by EmpathyLab.

The annual day looks to celebrate and grow empathy's power to create a better world by shining a light on the role books can play in raising an empathy-educated generation and inspiring children to learn more about empathy and how to put it into action.

The Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Paul Andrews joined children at the event. He said: "The children were brilliant and loved hearing from the authors and it was clear from the off just how much empathy they already have for each other and for those around them.

"Having empathy is such a vital life skill - not just for children but for all of us. Being surrounded by people who show us empathy is so important - it helps us feel good about ourselves - and if we feel good about ourselves then we're far more likely to go on to succeed and achieve in our lives."

The event for schools was organised in collaboration with EmpathyLab by Read Manchester - a partnership between Manchester City Council and the National Literacy Trust to further improve literacy levels in the city and to highlight the benefits of reading for pleasure. 

Empowering the city's children and young people is also at the heart of the city's ongoing push towards becoming recognised as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.

Miranda McKearney Founder, EmpathyLab said:  "Empathy Day’s strategy is based on scientific research showing that reading builds real life empathy. As children identify with book characters’ feelings , they learn how other people experience the world. Their horizons and perspectives are expanded powerfully.

"Empathy Day uses this power to help children learn more about empathy and why it’s so important. Right now, empathy has never been more urgently needed in the world, which is why this fantastic event with three wonderful authors and illustrators will have a powerful impact on the children in the audience."

Over 300 pupils took part in the interactive, fun-filled, author-led event, from schools across the city including:  St Margaret's CE Primary, St Augustine's CE Primary, Cringle Brook Primary, Benchill Primary and E-Act Academy Blackley. 

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