Book Title: You, Me and Empathy
Author: Jayneen Sanders
Illustrator: Sofia Cardoso
For Ages: 3-9
Related learning areas: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
Review of book: Click here for a book reading and review
About the book
‘You, Me and Empathy’ uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy. Throughout the story, Quinn shows an abundance of understanding, compassion and kindness towards others. Showing empathy towards others is a learned trait and one to nurture and cherish with the children in our care.
Also included are Discussion Questions for parents, caregivers and educators, and suggested activities to promote empathy and kindness.
Why I wrote it
One of the most important social skills a child can learn is empathy. Being able to understand how another person is feeling and recognizing their needs helps people to connect to one another across race, culture and the diversity that is ever-present and so important to our world.
We know from research, that empathy is a learned trait and one we need to promote and nurture with the kids in our care. What better way to model empathy than through the scenarios in a children’s picture book?
Through my gender-neutral character, Quinn, I wanted to portray a child who learns from the kindness they are shown and then transfers this to others. Our children are little sponges and if they are shown empathy and compassion they will respond in kind.
I also wanted to write this book in verse so children could enjoy the rhythmical nature of the text, and as is so often the case with verse, the text will stay with them long after the book is finished.
What I hope children learn from it
I hope children will learn not only what empathy, kindness and compassion is but to also practice it and have it become a part of who they are as they mature. I want them to understand how another person is feeling and to connect with that person with heartfelt understanding. When children learn to connect like this, I believe cruelty and bullying will be greatly reduced.
How parents and teachers can use it
I am a teacher myself so all my books are a hybrid of fiction with an educational twist! The Discussion Questions at the back of the book are there to help teachers and parents unpack each scenario with the children. I have also included questions throughout the text itself, so the children can easily join in with their own experiences and hence feel like their voices are important and heard.
Finally, as both a teacher and a mother, I am concerned that children are becoming less engaged with the people around them and more engaged with the technology that is so easily accessible. Teaching children to see the world from another person’s point of view is crucial to a kind, compassionate and empathetic society, and therefore, I believe teaching empathy from an early age is critical to all our futures.
On a Personal Note
I am concerned that children are becoming less engaged with the people around them and more engaged with the technology that is so easily accessible. Teaching children to see the world from another person’s point of view is crucial to a kind, compassionate and empathetic society, and because I believe teaching empathy from an early age is critical, I wrote a book to help children connect with others through empathy.
Being a mother and teacher gives me close insights into how children feel and learn. I can use both of these experiences to help me write really meaningful books for children with important messages for life. Children are visual learners and picture books can be amazing vehicles to illustrate these messages.
Because my own childhood was quite solitary, books were a very important part of my life, so I love to write books that help children get through emotionally hard times and give them something to hang on to.
My first book ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept‘ ‘came out of being ignored when I was on school council! I wanted the kids to learn about Body Safety but my request was put aside. As a mum, I was pretty cross about being disregarded so went home and wrote a book to help protect children from abuse. Since that time ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept‘ has been remarkably successful and the conversation of Body Safety is so much more on everyone’s agenda.
I really do love my work and I am so passionate about helping kids to be safe, strong, empowered and to be whoever they want to be, so I feel grateful every day that I am able to write books for children that make a difference to their lives.
AUTHOR: Jayneen Sanders
Jayneen, (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, publisher, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.
Visit her website for more information on this topic, and to find out more about Jay’s children’s books ’No Means No!’, ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ and ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’.
All Jayneen’s books are published by Educate2Empower Publishing an award-winning niché children’s book publisher who specializes in children’s books on BODY SAFETY, CONSENT, GENDER EQUALITY, RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. They also provide free resources for parents, caregivers and educators on these important topics.