I will never vote for a candidate who isn’t an avid reader, and not just a reader of law books and technical manuals. We need public servants who read fiction. Why? Because being a public servant requires empathy.
Reading fiction allows one to get into the minds of characters unlike us. It allows us to understand their reasoning…or lack thereof. Reading fiction makes us empathetic, allows us to walk in another person’s footsteps.
I would like to add two books I’ve read recently to my Stories-to-Build-Empathy list: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway and Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh.
Those of us in so-called traditional families sometimes don’t understand the choices other people have made. Far from the Tree starts with an adopted girl who gets pregnant in high school and chooses to give up her daughter for adoption. She is devastated by the decision. And that is just one twist in this story.
If you’ve never been afraid for your life, you might question why any family would risk death, why they would risk the lives of their children, to become refugees. You wouldn’t do that unless you had no other options. Right? Still, people question. Nowhere Boy might help young readers understand the why. It might help the reader believe that he or she, in fact, all of us, can dig down to find what it takes to be kind and courageous.
And three’s a charm! Read Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose’ Older because it is history with a twist—science fiction set in the Civil War era—and a book that can open eyes about what life was really like for people of color in the 1860s. What’s more, it is elegantly written. I can’t wait for the second book in the series, coming in May.
What are you waiting for? Add these three books to your TBR List!