Last week Caramel reviewed A Kids Book About Change by David Kim. This week he reviews a second book from the A Kids Book About series: A Kids Book About Empathy, written by Daron K. Roberts. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: Okay Caramel, now that we read A Kids Book About Empathy together, let us talk about it.
Caramel: A Kids Book About Empathy is about empathy, as you can tell from the title. The author tells a story about when he was in fourth grade and then asks a lot of questions.
S: Well, he suggests some questions to ask when you are trying to show empathy to someone, no?
C: Yeah, I suppose that is correct.
S: So the book is about empathy. Can you tell me what that is?
C: Empathy is putting yourself into somebody else’s shoes. Not literally.
S: Yes, that’s a joke the author makes, right? He says not the real shoes, because that would be gross.
C: It is disgusting!
S: Well, not really. Sometimes when Marshmallow grows out of a pair of shoes, you could wear them if they fit.
C: Yeah, I guess that is true.. Still I think that is not what the author means.
S: So what does putting yourself in someone else’s shoes mean?
C: It means thinking about what they might be feeling and trying to understand and help them go through the catastrophe they are going through…
S: Yes, that is a good description, but it does not really have to be a catastrophe for someone to need some empathy.
C: Yeah, just hard times would be enough.
S: So what does the author suggest us to do when we see a friend who is in a difficult situation?
C: He lists four things to do. First take a deep breath.
S: Why do you think that is?
C: You need time to calm down as well as they, probably.
S: Yes, and probably to remind yourself how you are supposed to proceed next. Because if you don’t stop and take a breath, you might dive in and do or say things that may hurt rather than help.
C: Yes I think so. Then the second step is to listen.
S: How so?
C: Listen to them explain the situation or tell you whatever they want or need to tell you.
S: That is good. So give them some space to open up as they find fit. I like that. Then what comes next?
C: Ask questions. And the fourth is imagine. I don’t really get it though.
S: Hmm, do you get the asking questions part?
C: Sort of. Mostly.
S: So you ask questions that help you understand the person and help the person open up and share what they need. Right?
C: Yeah. I think so. But I don’t understand the imagining part.
S: Maybe read that part again?
C: Okay here it is:
“Maybe the exact same thing happened to you, or maybe you’ve never even had a dog. Try to imagine, and put yourself in their shoes to feel what they feel.”Daron K. Roberts, A Kids Book About Empathy.
S: So does that make sense? Do you understand why imagining can be a good thing to do?
C: I guess it makes sense to try and help them…
S: or at least have them feel heard. When you try to imagine what they might be feeling, you may not solve their problems, but at least maybe they will feel like someone is on their side.
C: Yes, exactly.
S: Okay, so did you learn something new from this book?
C: I knew what empathy meant, more or less, but I did not know the four steps. I didn’t know exactly how to show it to my friends.
S: I like those four steps too Caramel.
C: I wish I had read this book earlier. One of my classmates’ grandmother died and I didn’t know what to do.
S: Do you think you know what to do now?
C: Yep. I will take a breath, listen, ask questions and then I put myself in their shoes.
S: Yes, you could imagine how difficult it would be to lose someone you love.
C: Yes, I don’t like to think about such things. But empathy says I have to try if I want to be a good friend.
S: Yes. I agree. Empathy can be hard for many reasons, but one of the reasons is that it can also lead us to difficult places. Still I am glad we read this book together Caramel. What three words would you use to describe this book?
C: Three words… Colorful, because it is colorful. Helpful. And empathy. That’s a word!
S: Yes, you used those two words, colorful and helpful, for the book about change!
C: Yes, because both words work for both books!
S: I agree. So let us wrap this up now. What do you want to tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!