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Building empathy

November 22nd, 2011 by James Lorimer

fighting for gold cover

A powerful way to reinforce empathy is to find common ground between people who don't think they have anything in common.

A reluctant reader with an interest in hockey can easily find common ground with the characters in Lorna Nicholson's true-life story about a hockey team who overcome tremendous obstacles to win gold at the Olympics. The book is Fighting for Gold.

The hockey players in this book play a different version of the game -- sledge hockey. The fact that they are disabled makes it tougher in some ways for them to play the game. But they're as dedicated to hockey as anyone can be -- as a young reader quickly realizes.

Lorna talks about the team's struggles and accomplishments in the tournament and also touches briefly on each player's physical disability and even shows the logistical challenges that the team faced getting all its players to the tournament.

It's a great story with a happy ending. The team went into the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy and came out with the gold medal for Canada.

Lorna's respectful coverage of their stories makes this book ideal for character education units around empathy, as she creates awareness for their struggles without diminishing their athletic prowess.

Reviewers have recognized Lorna's achievement with this book. Says Resource Links: "This book is fast-paced and action-packed, but also very empathetic towards the struggles and amazing achievements of the members of the team." (Read the whole review; it's in Volume 15, no 3)

Fighting for Gold is part of the Lorimer Recordbooks series, hi-lo sports history stories for ages 12 and up.





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