Have you ever heard that reading fiction helps teach empathy? Empathy is, arguably, one of the most important social skills – it can be one of the deepest ways in which we relate to other people and understand each other. Fiction exposes readers to the stories of people unlike them in situations the reader has not necessarily encountered in real life. In this way, fictional stories can be a safe space to learn about others, test out new ideas and perspectives, and experience different and potentially difficult emotions outside of the realm of day to day life (Colvin, 2017). These benefits aren’t just for kids, either, although there’s nothing wrong with starting young! If you’re curious to learn more about how reading fiction can teach empathy, even to adults, and help people connect with each other across very strong identity lines – like race, religion, or sexuality – take a look at the article by Corvin cited below.
This month’s library display at the St. Paul campus is America the Beautiful: A Nation of Immigrants. We love celebrating what makes our country, and our university, great – diversity! Stop by the library for fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature telling immigrant and refugee stories.
The mural featured on the banner above and on posters for this display can be found at Centro Tyrone Guzman in South Minneapolis. It was created by youth in their Raíces program in collaboration with artists Leilani Mendoza and Andrés Guzman. Photographs of the mural provided by Cynthia J. Zapata. Learn more about the mural.
Colvin, S. (2017). Literature as more than a window: Building readers' empathy and social capacity through exposure to diverse literature. Voice of Youth Advocates, 39(6), 24-27.