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George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) was a great believer in the power of empathy to move her readers. Back when she was writing in the 19th century, empathy was generally known as ‘sympathy’.
This is a classic short-story from Ursula Le Guin, one of the greatest sci-fi writers ever. You can find it in her collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters. It’s not long but it has a powerful empathic message at the heart of it.
With touching detail, Shaun Tan's picture book tells the story of a migrant family, seeking refuge and asylum in a strange new city. By depicting this new city as an alienating, science-fiction world, Tan performs a neat trick on our empathy glands.
When I first read this children’s book, I was desperate to give it to everyone I knew- first my flatmate, then my parents. In fact, I wanted to have kids so I could share it with them about ten years later (it‘s still waiting patiently on my shelf for that moment).
‘I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’
It's not a book for the weak hearted.
Actually, it'd be better to say it's not a book for someone who is strong, mentally and emotionally.
Set in modern day New York, this is a young adult novel about a young man who is so overwhelmed at the prospect of finishing high school that he wants to bow out completely, move to the country and live the quietest life he can possibly imagine, forsaking the university and city life expected of
This is a story of Hazel and Gus. Both teenage cancer victims (for lack of a better word) who find one another just a little too late. Although Gus' cancer has a high survival rate, he is not destined to be in that 80%.
Two children begin a restrained friendship, conducted on the steps outside their block of flats and on long walks through their bleak, urban environment. Caps are often pulled down over faces and a great deal said without being spoken out loud.