S139. Walk in Their Shoes: Children's and Young Adult Novels that Cultivate Empathy

F152, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am


A diverse panel of children's and young adult authors weighs in on the abundance of studies suggesting that readers of middle-grade and young adult fiction develop both an increased capacity to understand other people's points of view and a deeper empathy. We'll talk about how authors, teachers, therapists, and even judges use children's and YA novels in their work to decrease anxiety and depression in kids bullied because of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability, and economic status.



Melissa Hart is the author of Avenging the Owl; Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family; and Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood. She's a contributing editor at The Writer Magazine, and her essays have appeared in The Normal School, Fourth Genre, Orion, The Washington Post, The LA Times, etc.

Brian Tashima is the author of the Joel Suzuki series, a YA sci-fi/fantasy series featuring a teenage protagonist on the autism spectrum. He is also a board member of Autism Empowerment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in the autism community.

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand is the author of eleven books for children and young adults. Three of her biographies have won Pura Belpre honors. Among other recognitions for her contributions to children's literature is the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award.

Donna Gephart's award-winning, middle grade novels exhibit humor and heart. They include: In Your Shoes, Lily and Dunkin, Death by Toilet Paper, and How to Survive Middle School. Donna is a popular speaker and creative writing teacher at schools, conferences, libraries, and book festivals.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Washington State Convention Center