Reviews /

I am Human: A Book of Empathy

Authored by Susan Verde
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Published by Abrams

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I am Human: A Book of Empathy seeks to explore what it means to be ‘one of billions but unique’ and includes at the end a guided meditation, which can be used in class. Through illustrations and simple but precise captions, it looks at the positive aspects of being human such as curiosity and experiencing joy; but also explores the idea that being human ‘means I am not perfect. I make mistakes’ and then explores aspects such as overcoming fears and forgiveness.

Younger children can access the illustrations on their own, but for older pupils, the text and illustrations provide a multi-modal dimension and would lead to some interesting discussions. I liked the cyclical nature of the book, as the ideas return to individual uniqueness ending on a message of hope.

I am Human: A Book of Empathy is a great book to use with any age and would be a welcome addition to PSHE resources, as well as supporting work in Philosophy for Children, growth mindset or mindfulness. I think it is also a good resource for developing spiritual, moral, social and cultural work; in particular social and personal development, but could easily be linked to spiritual development as well.

I would use pages from it across several weeks rather than the whole book in one sitting and link it to an exploration of school values, but its strength comes from it being useful in a range of contexts—a good addition to any resource box or classroom display.