Manchester Libraries is celebrating Empathy Day on 9 June this year with The Empathy Lab and we think that this year it’s more important than ever.  In fact we’re such fans of how books can build empathy that we’ve put together a whole programme of events for you. Here you can find links and suggestions to share with your family ranging from craft activities, sharing rhymes, story times and books you can borrow via BorrowBox.

We will also highlight many of the fabulous activities being planned by the Empathy Lab.

What is The Empathy Lab?

The Empathy Lab is working with a wide range of organisations to harness books’ empathy-building power, inspired by scientific evidence that in identifying with book characters, we learn to see things from other points of view. Research shows that humans are not born with a fixed quantity of empathy – it’s a skill we can learn.  

Check out Empathy Lab for more information and resources and watch the videos below that explain the definitions of empathy. We love the Sesame Street video for children, featuring Mark Ruffalo!

Video for adults

Video for children

Manchester Libraries Empathy Activities programme  

See Manchester Libraries Facebook at 2pm on the days below. You can also see them on our Twitter page or on our YouTube channel.

The highlight is author Kate Milner reading It’s a No Money Day especially for Manchester Libraries! 

Monday 1st June: Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Tuesday 2nd June:  Watch a reading of Lubna and Pebble by author Wendy Meddour then catch our Pebble activity

Wednesday 3rd June:  Empathy Lego Challenge and Lego Emotions

Thursday 4th June:  Empathy Storytime: When Sadness Comes to Call written by Eva Eland

Friday 5th June:  Empathy Craft and Watch a reading of Lubna and Pebble by author Wendy Meddour 

Saturday 6th June: Empathy Storytime: Where Happiness Begins by Eva Eland

Sunday 7th June:   Empathy Storytime: The Storm Whale written Benji Davies 

Monday 8th June: Author Kate Milner reads It’s a No Money Day for Manchester Libraries

Tuesday 9th June: See the fabulous Empathy Day events from Empathy Lab here or follow us on Twitter on the day.

Borrow Empathy books with Manchester Libraries

Pick up or reserve an eBook or eAudiobook online at BorrowBox. Here are our Empathy suggestions, however you don’t have to stick to this list. We realised as a team that lots of books show empathy, why not share your fave reads with us on social media. See for instructions on how to download Borrow Box if you haven’t done so already, or if you’re good to go click on the link right here and get searching! 

Primary School List


Charlie Changes into a Chicken by Sam Copeland

Pie in the Sky by Remi Lai

The Last Human by Lee Bacon and Paul Panting

Check Mates by Stewart Foster

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams

The Afterwards by Emily Gravett

Flight by Vanessa Harbour

Secondary School List


Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham

Somebody Give this Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Family Activities pack

A fun filled pack of activities straight from the Empathy Lab that you can use at home!

Storytimes with Empathy Lab:

Catch authors reading fabulous titles on the Empathy Lab YouTube channel, and find Empathy Lab’s exciting Empathy Day programme of events for 9 June here; what a treat!