SACRAMENTO, CA (June 22, 2009) — United Animal Nations (UAN) today lauded U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for starting regular summer readings for children at his agency, and encouraged him to include books that promote empathy on his reading list.
“Research shows that reading correlates with almost every measurement of positive personal and social behavior,” said UAN President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “In our experiences at UAN, we’ve watched it have a profound effect on children’s ability to empathize with animals and other human beings.”
UAN operates the Humane Education Ambassador Reader (HEAR) program, a first-of-its-kind community-based literacy program designed to help children develop compassion and empathy toward animals. In the spirit of the White House’s Summer of Service initiative, the HEAR program uses trained volunteers to visit classrooms, after-school programs, camps and other venues to read carefully selected books and lead discussion-based lesson plans that align with curriculum standards and promote critical thinking skills.
“We have already identified twelve remarkable books that demonstrate the bond between animals and people,” Forsyth said. “We want Secretary Duncan to choose one of these books because they are examples of high-quality children’s literature that elicit engagement.”
Among the books UAN recommends Secretary Duncan read are:
- Buddy Unchainedby Daisy Bix. Buddy tells the story of his former life of neglect, abuse and, finally, rescue, to live a good life with a family that cares about him.
- Lucky Boyby Susan Boase. A small, brown and “kind of stinky” dog is neglected in his backyard. Mr. Miller is recently widowed and struggling with his loss. When they meet, it’s love at first sight.
- Mrs. Crump’s Catby Linda Smith. When Mrs. Crump finds a cat on her porch, she tells him to “shoo.” But as Mrs. Crump begins caring for the cat, she comes to appreciate his companionship.
Learn more about the HEAR program and see the complete list of books at www.uan.org/hear.
Read UAN’s letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan [PDF].
Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at www.uan.org