Teaching Empathy to Children with Positive Books
The concept of learning empathy plays a huge role regarding the morals found in our Unicorn Jazz stories. It’s true! Teaching Empathy to Children
If you take a look through each Unicorn Jazz book, you’ll notice that each and every story in the Unicorn Jazz series has a little (or a lot!) of this social construct sprinkled throughout our magical adventures. So let’s go over all the lessons that Unicorn Jazz and friends have learned using empathy in each story so far!
What is Empathy?
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand how a person feels in a given situation. In other words, it is that feeling that causes us to look outside of ourselves and through the lens of someone going through a different circumstance than us. As such, empathy contains a wide range of emotions, from feeling happy for your friend who shares good news with us, to feeling anxious when we see an athlete on live TV under pressure to make that winning point, or even sad when we see someone in tears. So how does empathy play a part in our UJ stories? Let’s take a look!
Unicorn Jazz (Book 1)
In the first Unicorn Jazz book, we as the reader feel empathy for Jazz as she moves to a faraway place and becomes nervous about making new friends in another school. Our empathy for Jazz is extended further when none of the animals want to accept her in their group simply because she is just too different from everyone else.
Thankfully, we are not the only ones who empathize with Jazz, as Woof the Crow swooped down to uplift her spirits. He didn’t know why she felt down at first, all he knew was that he heard a voice in need and offered a helping hand (or wing in this case!) of wise advice. Because of Woof’s empathy for Jazz in her situation, he was able to show her a way out of her sadness and into a brand-new groove of sharing her wonderful singing voice with the world, instead of hiding who she is just to blend in with others.
The Thing I Do
In book one we experienced empathy through Woof the Crow helping a down-and-out Jazz feel better about going to school the next day. In these two books, empathy is directed at the reader by gaining an understanding of what happiness means to others outside of our own standards.
These two books share a secret theme of discovery while celebrating the fact that everyone has something unique that makes them happy. Empathy is shown throughout these two books by taking the time to find out what others like as we expand our own interests. After all, some people may like sports, some like reading, some like to do both or prefer one over the other, but in the end, happiness is a term best understood through ourselves and through empathy in others.
Eye See You Choosing Kindness
In “Eye See You” Woof shares a story with Jazz about how he wore glasses growing up and had to face bullying in school because of it, particularly from Billy the Butterfly who kept calling him mean names. Yet, by the end of the story Woof responds to Billy’s insults with kindness, and actually makes a friend in his former bully.
The moral of this story is choosing kindness, however, we need to be able to empathize with others before we can understand how to be kind in a situation. In this book, Woof realized that Billy was calling him names because he didn’t understand how helpful glasses were to so many people all over the world. If Woof had responded unkindly, he never would’ve made an understanding friend in Billy!
The theme behind “Ocean Animals” is empathizing with what you can’t see. We all know that there’s a huge world beneath our seas, and it’s up to us as humans to help take care of our planet’s aquatic environments as we do our forests and natural landscapes.
Beneath the surface, “Ocean Animals” serves as a bridge to a higher form of empathy as it introduces us to understand how to empathize with animals (and people!) that we have yet to meet.
Help and Give Back
“Help & Give Back” serves to show kids that empathy in our actions, like a positive mental attitude, is something that we need to keep working on consistently in order to be our best selves.
Simply put, building a strong foundation for empathy is the journey to understanding the emotions and well-being of others. Only by helping others can we truly gain experience in building the empathy we need to become masters of emotional awareness. This doesn’t just mean empathy for people, but also for the animals and plants around us as well — even the air we breathe! No hidden message here folks, opportunities for empathy are all around us, it’s up to us how we choose to see them.