Empathy Lab: Empathy Day 2023 - Plans Announced for Thursday 8th of June 2023 - Press Release


EMPATHY DAY steps up a gear as it returns for its seventh year – 

at a time of great need 

  • Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho will share an exclusive Empathy Day poem as part of his national assembly beamed into UK classrooms 
  • We’ve Got This! – a new empathy handbook for children, helping develop their superpower will be published on 18 May by the Quarto Group 
  • 1,000 children will play empathy-boosting games in Manchester’s Velodrome with favourite authors & illustrators, Rob Biddulph, Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Sophy Henn    
  • Leading authors and illustrators act as empathy role models in online festival, Empathy Day Live! 
  • EMPATHY DAY 2023 is on 8 June 2023 

EmpathyLab has announced geared up plans for Empathy Day 2023 (Thursday 8 June), at a time of great concern about young people’s wellbeing – research shows that 1 in 16 10-15-year-olds are not happy with their lives and teachers report rising levels of anxiety and mental health problems. The social enterprise aims to involve 1 million children a year by 2026, acting as a focal point for celebrating empathy’s power to build a kinder, less divided world. 

From May, hundreds of thousands of children will get involved in learning more about empathy, and putting it into action, inspired and galvanised by leading children’s authors and illustrators. New plans announced for 2023 include:  

  • To launch the Empathy Day Live! online festival on 8 June, Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho leads a national assembly featuring an exclusive Empathy Day poem. 
  • The festival also stars top authors and illustrators modelling empathy-boosting Mission Empathy activities – including Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Hannah Gold, Sharna Jackson, Sue Hendra, Louie Stowell, Rob Biddulph and Maisie Chan. 
  • A new empathy handbook for 7-12-year-olds publishes on 18 May, written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, in collaboration with EmpathyLab. We’ve Got This! takes readers through six simple steps to harness empathy as their human SUPERPOWER, and discover how using this power can change their lives and the world around them for the better. lllustrated by Juliana Eigner and published by Words & Pictures, all royalties support EmpathyLab’s work. 
  • A special live event at Manchester Velodrome on Empathy Day itself, with 1,000 children playing empathy-boosting games with Rob Biddulph, Sophy Henn and Rashmi Sirdeshpande 
  • Building partnership roster: Empathy Day has grown quickly, with the support of community partners who believe in EmpathyLab’s mission to raise an empathy educated generation. 2017 was the first year, and in 2022 402,000 children took part. This year sees growing momentum, with 47 children’s publishers pledging concrete support, and partners like Twinkl, Scottish Book Trust, The Week Junior, Authorfy, Toppsta, Manchester Libraries, Read Manchester and the National Literacy Trust increasing their involvement, helping EmpathyLab to benefit more children and young people.

“Empathy is a force for change, and we badly need that change. Empathy Day gives us all practical ways to support young people and develop everyone’s empathy skills and understanding” says founder Miranda McKearney OBE. “We’re passionate about giving every child the chance to be surrounded by empathetic adults and to learn more about this crucial life skill”. 

Five creative Mission Empathy activities for all 

At the heart of Empathy Day are five inspiring Mission Empathy Challenge activities for children to complete in class or at home. Designed to develop key empathy skills such as active listening and perspective-taking, the emphasis is on social change. Everyone is urged to make and enact Empathy Resolutions – small behaviour changes with a positive impact on the people around us. The Mission Empathy activities can be done from May onwards, and a key action is for schools and libraries is to sign up for free resources to take part https://bit.ly/EDay23Registration.

Leading authors and illustrators will model and celebrate these same five activities in the Empathy Day LIVE! Festival on 8 June, with bitesize films streaming into classrooms, assemblies, libraries or homes. Activities kick off at 9am with Joseph Coelho’s assembly, before a dazzling array of favourite authors & illustrators share their Empathy Resolutions and how they will be putting empathy into action, including Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson, A.M. Dassu, SF Said, Maisie Chan, Rosie Jones and Robin Stevens.

Finally, join beloved author and illustrator Rob Biddulph for a special empathy-themed ‘Draw with Rob’ from 2pm. 

All Empathy Day Live! events can be watched live at empathylab.uk/empathy-day-live, and will also be available to watch on demand.