Deep Blue and Cushy (characters from the picture book FINDING A FRIEND) sitting together talking and drinking tea. Text reads: "Empathy: The True Essence of Friendship"
Teaching Empathy Through Children’s Literature

In the vast and mysterious expanse of the ocean, stories of friendship and understanding abound, offering profound lessons for young minds to treasure. Finding a Friend, the inaugural book in the Shark Stories picture book series, unveils the captivating narrative of Deep Blue—the remarkable main character whose story transcends mere storytelling. As children immerse themselves in Deep Blue’s world, they are swept away on an underwater adventure filled with acceptance and the profound significance of looking beyond appearances.

Within the pages of Finding a Friend, children discover the transformative power of empathy—a beacon of light guiding them through the depths of the ocean and the complexities of their own emotions. Through Deep Blue’s journey, young readers learn invaluable lessons in compassion, understanding, and the true essence of friendship.

Unveiling the Gentle Giant: The Ocean’s Misunderstood Character

Deep Blue is not your average sea creature. At an impressive 20 feet long and weighing in at 5,000 pounds, Deep Blue’s presence in the ocean is undeniably formidable. However, despite her daunting size, Deep Blue is the epitome of kindness and gentleness. The story challenges the notion that bigger or different means frightening, revealing Deep Blue’s struggle with being misunderstood by the other sea creatures who hastily swim away at her approach.

Finding Strength and Understanding: The Essence of the Tale

Finding a Friend does more than entertain; it educates and inspires. Aimed at children aged 6-9, the narrative weaves themes of empathy, friendship, compassion, and the importance of not judging someone—or something—based solely on appearances. Deep Blue’s journey is a testament to strength, determination, and the power of understanding, making it an invaluable resource for sparking discussions about acceptance and inclusivity among young readers.

Empathy and Inclusivity in Early Education: How Educators and Parents Can Dive In

The story of Deep Blue provides a rich context for educators and parents to engage children in conversations about looking beyond what someone might seem at first glance and understanding the value of kindness and friendship. Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate Finding a Friend into lessons on empathy and acceptance:

  • Interactive Read-Aloud Sessions: Encourage interactive reading sessions where children can express their thoughts on Deep Blue’s experiences and emotions. Ask open-ended questions to guide discussions on empathy and inclusivity.
  • Creative Projects: After reading the story, invite kids to create their own sea creatures, emphasizing unique characteristics. Facilitate a discussion on diversity and the beauty of differences. You can find free downloadable activities here.
  • Role-Playing Activities: Role-playing scenarios from the book can help children walk in Deep Blue’s fins, fostering a deeper understanding of empathy and friendship from different perspectives.

Encouraging a Splash of Understanding: The Ripple Effect of Storytelling

Stories like Finding a Friend play a crucial role in shaping young minds, teaching them valuable life lessons through captivating narratives. Leveraging tales of characters like Deep Blue can significantly impact how children view the world around them, emphasizing the importance of friendship and looking beyond the surface.

Join us in exploring empathy with Deep Blue in the Finding a Friend tale. We invite educators and parents to dive into the discussion: What stories do you use to teach the children in your life about empathy and inclusivity? Your insights and experiences are treasures as valuable as the lessons from the deep. Share your thoughts and classroom stories, and let’s continue to nurture understanding and acceptance in the hearts of our young ones. Together we can empower the next generation with the enduring values of compassion.

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