Children love to talk about characters, whether it be from a book, movie or TV show. They make those great connections to themselves, others, books and the world.Conversations about how characters face problems helps children to build empathy. Not just any book will do this, it needs to be quality literary fiction with complex characters .
Sharing quality books with characters experiencing a range of emotions reassures a child that challenges in life happen to others and they are not alone in feelings. Topics that seem frightening shouldn't be shied away from, but rather embraced since it helps children to realize and be prepared for the emotions that come from life's little upsets. There's a theory that raising children to be readers will result in a more peaceful society. Seeing the world through a character's eyes helps children to have a broader picture of the world than their own personal community.
Librarians have various tricks to help students explore great literature and good characters. My latest venture is to have a character day. The idea is students choose a great character, find a book and talk about it with others. Character Days aren't a new idea, but they are fun, effective and great way to bring a school community together.
My Top 10 Favourite Books to Build the Attitude Empathy