My January reading has followed the same amazing path (see her post yesterday) as Franki's: The Fault in Our Stars, The One and Only Ivan, and Wonder (plus one she hasn't read yet, but should--an adult read: Unbroken).
When I put Wonder down last Saturday night after reading it straight through, I couldn't stop thinking about Auggie...and about all the other people in his life who had a voice in his story. I thought about how necessary it is that we help children learn to have empathy -- to "walk two moons in someone else's moccasins." I thought about the family I know whose son is profoundly stare-inducing, and all that they have gone through to advocate for him and include him in every part of their life.
I started thinking about other books that evoke empathy -- A Long Walk to Water and Home of the Brave came to mind immediately because of recent conversations with colleagues about the power of these two books as read alouds in their fourth and fifth grade classrooms. And I decided to start a new shelf in Goodreads: Empathy. Here are the books I tagged (some are adult/YA):
Home of the Brave, Applegate
The One and Only Ivan, Applegate
Because of Mr. Terrupt, Buyea
No Ordinary Day, Ellis
Flying Solo, Fletcher
The Thing About Georgie, Graff
The Fault in Our Stars, Greene
Larger Than Life Lara, Mackall
The Gold Threaded Dress, Marsden
We Are the Ship, Nelson
How to Steal a Dog, O'Connor
Greetings From Nowhere, O'Connor
A Long Walk to Water, Park
Beneath My Mother's Feet, Qamar
Anna Hibiscus, Tobia
It's not a perfect list because I haven't been particularly perfect about keeping track of my reading on Goodreads, but it's a start.
After spring break, I plan to ask my students to put their other reading aside and read from a collection of (age-appropriate for 4th graders) books I gather so that we can use literature to help us learn about, experience, have conversations about, and practice EMPATHY.
What books would you add to the list? (It occurs to me that the set of picture books I use at the beginning of the year to build community and introduce theme -- especially the ones about names -- would be perfect to revisit as we begin to understand the concept of empathy...)
Leave your suggestions in the comments -- picture books, poetry, middle grade, YA, adult...all suggestions are welcome.