How to develop and nurture empathy in ourselves and others?
It just takes listening with open hearts, open eyes and ears, and open minds. In fact, it will help to use all our senses. There’s a big, beautiful world for us to engage with, and it belongs to everyone, so readers are exhorted to dig in—sometimes literally. The writing is gentle, lyrical, and comforting, meant to help readers think dreamy, lofty thoughts. However, the language is occasionally vague, some concepts perhaps too abstract to strike a resonant chord with some literal-minded youngsters. Even adults might profess to being unsure about what the softly poetic prose suggests. That could be problematic for those sharing the book with children needing explanations of a few passages. Alternatively, it could prove beneficial since this slim volume should spark lively conversations about the book’s themes: of understanding, awareness of self and others, compassion, and inclusion. Lines such as “Listen / with your heart. / It is / your ears / your eyes / your nose / your mouth / your hands. / Your heart / can hear everything, / see everything, / smell everything, / taste everything, / touch everything…” should encourage animated discussion or even interpretive artwork. The soft-colored, childlike illustrations feature a lone white, dark-haired child relishing nature on most spreads. Her solitary appearance is somewhat at odds with the emphasis on inclusiveness and interconnection, however.
Just listening has its limits, but this is a start. (Picture book. 4-7)