Footballer Marcus Rashford and writer Joseph Coelho are among the authors listed in the 2023 Read For Empathy book collection aimed at children.
EmpathyLab announced on Wednesday the 65 books, aimed at three to 16-year-olds, that have been chosen by expert judges for offering young people different ways of experiencing, understanding and building empathy.
The picture books, novels, poetry, non-fiction, graphic and verse novels give insights into issues like economic hardship, war, homelessness and hearing loss.
Manchester United striker Rashford’s book You Can Do It: How To Find Your Voice And Make A Difference is on the secondary school list for those aged 12 to 16.
It also draws on Rashford’s experiences campaigning, which has included pushing for low-income families to be provided with free school meals outside term time.
He has also called for the rate of universal credit to be raised and has helped get book donations to under-privileged children.
Coelho, a performance poet, playwright and children’s author who was made Waterstones Children’s Laureate in 2022, is listed for primary school children aged three to 11 for Our Tower.
Illustrated by Richard Johnson, the picture book tells the story of three children discovering the magic inside their tower block.
Other books to make the empathy list include Tyger by SF Said, Yes You Can, Cow! by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Lisa Thompson’s Sidney Makes A Wish.
“Imagine the power of every child being inspired to learn about the importance of empathy and develop this critical life skill – the future would be in safe hands.”
The 11 other judges include school teachers and librarians.
The annual list is to be used as a guide for parents and teachers.
Michele Thomas, headteacher at Pembroke Dock Community School, said: “Pupils are seeking out injustices and using empathy to resolve differences in the classroom and playground.
“There have been fewer incidences of racism since we began our empathy journey.”
The full list for the 2023 Read for Empathy collection is available at empathylab.uk/RFE-2023