LISTENING & TELLING
Human beings play and tell stories. One of the most important ways we make connections with one another—even across time and space—is through story. It is what connects us to our past and gives our current existence transcendence towards a hoped future.
Story also transforms the here and the now by inviting us to stand in the shoes of others. It helps us see, hear, know and feel things we could not do on our own—in our own time, in our own place, or in our own culture. In turn, story makes us feel visible. When we recognize ourselves in the experience of others we know we are not alone.
Whether telling or listening, we make meaning of our experience by and through story. As author Barry Lopez famously wrote in his book Crow and Weasel:
“'Remember on this one thing,' said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed.
Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves.'”
Stories are how we care for one another. Stories are where we find the delicate balance of giving and taking—to listen and be heard, to see and be seen, to push and to pull. Stories squarely place us on the path of empathy.
Support & Enrich Your Story about Story: Explore materials on understanding others through books and cultivating empathy through fictional narratives.
"...if you’re curious, you don’t make stereotypes & when you don’t make stereotypes, you don’t discriminate against other people. Which is good. Because discrimination doesn’t make us a happy community." —Chloe, Age 11
TEDTalk | 2019 Conference: Jaqueline Woodson (6 mins)
What Reading Slowly Taught me about Writing:
"Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past."
TEDxNatick Talk: Grace Lin (12 mins)
The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf: What your child reads sets the path for their self-worth & how they see others."A book can show you the world, but it can also show you a reflection of yourself."
A Look at Diversity in Children's Books: "The creators of the image added cracks in the mirrors to illustrate the continued misrepresentation of the underrepresented communities—the quantity of books may have gone up (since 2015), but...that doesn't necessarily indicate accuracy & quality..."
The Conscious Kid | Books by Black Authors: Confronting Anti-Blackness
TED Talk | The Danger of a Single Story: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Blavity: The Community for Black Creativity & News
ZORA: A Medium of Publication for Women of Color
The 19th: A nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics & policy.
them. News & commentary through the lens of today's LGBTQ community.
ON FICTION & EMPATHY:
"You can’t really make a good decision without empathy. It requires you to think of everyone’s perspective." —Olive, Age 11
Can Fictional Stories Make us More Empathetic? Exposure to fiction may improve our ability to understand others' feelings.
Building Empathy with Stories: Develop social-emotional skills & empathy using fiction, nonfiction, & poetry.
Lost for Words? How Reading Can Teach Children Empathy: Stories have the power to bring emotions to life.
Through Fantasy, Children Face Fears & Become Braver: Imaginative stories are a great classroom tool.