Chitra Soundar (You’re Safe with me, illustrator Poonam Mistry )
“We don’t love what we fear. We don’t fear what we know. Like the little animals in this story who learn not to be afraid of thunder, lightning and the river, every one of us will love more and fear less if we get to know the unknown.
Mama Elephant shows the baby animals the struggles of the wind, thunder and the river. By seeing a different perspective, the little animals are no longer afraid of the unknown. Just like stories show us perspectives of those who are different to us in some ways. The more we read the more we realise how much we have in common with the rest of the world.” Chitra Soundar
Benji Davies, Grandad’s Island
“The need for empathy in our world is more important now than ever before. It is the glue that binds us together; something we should cherish and that must be encouraged. I believe books are the best tool we have to deliver this message to the next generation and I’m delighted that Grandad’s Island has been selected for this list.” Benji Davies
Mark Lowery, Charlie and Me
“I didn't set out to write a book that was necessarily about empathy. I wanted to write a book about people, and particularly about one young person facing a very difficult situation. As the book developed though, I found myself being led more and more by my main character, seeing things through his eyes, feeling anger and pain and grief in the same way as him. I also thought about how other people close to him might be reacting to the same situation in different ways.
If a book is about people then it must be also be about empathy. As a teacher, I can see the power of stories to allow children to walk in someone else's shoes and to consider how we treat each other. In a world that can sometimes seem cruel or impersonal, it’s a deeply heartening thought that people do still care about each other.”
'I'm thrilled that the Guggenheim Mystery has been included in such an important and timely initiative. Storytelling is one of the best ways to experience life through another person's eyes, and in a divisive and distrustful era, building connections and understanding is vital. In Ted, Siobhan Dowd created a neruroatypical character who knows that it's great to be different. I am proud to carry his story on, and I hope The Guggenheim Mystery can help build understanding and empathy, along with all of the other books in this collection.'
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
As the world moves towards seemingly greater intolerance, books that teach empathy become increasingly vital. Books allow us insight into different lives, and it is difference that so often scares us. The Island at the End of Everything is set on a leper colony, and writing it taught me disgust is often driven by fear. It also taught me tolerance is perhaps the best path to love, which is the opposite of fear. Telling Ami’s story grew my heart, and my mind. I hope it does the same for my readers.