Gift Guide

Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child


Roots of empathy—an evidence-based program developed in 1996 by longtime educator and social entrepreneur Mary Gordon—has already reached more than 270,000 children in Canada, the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Now, as The New York Times reports that “empathy lessons are spreading everywhere amid concerns over the pressure on students from high-stakes tests and a race to college that starts in kindergarten,” Mary Gordon explains the value of and how best to nurture empathy and social and ...
See more details below
$11.64 price
(Save 27%)$15.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $3.96   
  • New (7) from $9.53   
  • Used (11) from $3.96   
Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49 price
(Save 34%)$15.95 List Price


Roots of empathy—an evidence-based program developed in 1996 by longtime educator and social entrepreneur Mary Gordon—has already reached more than 270,000 children in Canada, the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Now, as The New York Times reports that “empathy lessons are spreading everywhere amid concerns over the pressure on students from high-stakes tests and a race to college that starts in kindergarten,” Mary Gordon explains the value of and how best to nurture empathy and social and emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Mary Gordon has created a brilliant strategy for teaching young children the essential skills to see the mind within each person… Empathy in all its forms is encouraged and cultivated in this science-based, emotion-inspiring, life-changing immersion in the inner world of human development.”
—from the foreword by Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of The Developing Mind and Parenting from the Inside Out

“Empathy, an innate human quality that arises in a child from nurturing attachment relationships, is increasingly rare in our stressed, alienated, and disconnected culture. Mary Gordon's Roots of Empathy program, outlined in this indispensable book, provides young students with an environment in which they can interact with someone even more vulnerable than they, under the care and attention of loving adults. Empathy grows naturally.”
Gabor Maté, MD, author of Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

“[An] impressive book... It’s a bold and wonderful idea, part of a movement to put empathetic understanding of other people alongside the academic concerns of education and close to the center of our society.”
The Globe and Mail

“This brilliant program belongs in every classroom in every school in every country of the world, forever. There’s no better way to teach empathy—the essential human trait.”
Raffi Cavoukian, singer, author, and founder of Child Honoring

“Mary Gordon has opened the door to finally treating the whole child in a practical, no-nonsense, yet sensitive and compassionate way.”
Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto

“In this engaging book, Gordon describes how her program has helped reduce incidences of aggression and bullying… This ‘emotional literacy’ allows Roots of Empathy to educate, as Gordon puts it, ‘both the mind and the heart.’”

“I’ve long recommended the Roots of Empathy program in my own work with parents, children, and educators, which, like Mary Gordon’s program, is focused on teaching children how to do the right thing. Roots of Empathy is an essential book for every one of us invested in cultivating greater empathy in children—whether at home or in the classroom.”
Michele Borba, EdD, author of Building Moral Intelligence and Parents Do Make a Difference

“Emboldened by what infants and young children have taught us about how early in life the seeds of compassion are planted and what it takes to grow the roots of empathy deeply, Mary Gordon strives to bring about no less than world peace and protection for our planet’s future, starting with schools and classrooms everywhere, one child, one parent, one teacher at a time.”
T. Berry Brazelton, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School and Founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center and Joshua Sparrow, MD, Director of Special Initiatives, Brazelton Touchpoints Center, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, authors of the Touchpoints books
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615190072
  • Publisher: Experiment, The
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 216,178
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Gordon

Mary Gordon is an internationally recognized educator, author, child advocate, and parenting expert who has created award-winning programs focused on the power of empathy. In 1996, she founded Roots of Empathy, which now offers programs in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and elsewhere. Gordon speaks and consults to governments, educational organizations, and public institutions. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and an Ashoka Fellow. Her Web site is


Mary Gordon is the author of the novels The Love of My Youth, Spending, The Company of Women, and The Rest of Life, as well as the memoir The Shadow Man. She has received a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 1997 O. Henry Award for best short story. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York City.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Gordon:

"I don't have any great first job tales: I‘ve never worked on a tramp steamer or in a coal mine or anything like that. I think the inspiration for my writing came largely from my father and the joy that life in books represented to me."

"I love dancing; I adore salsa dancing and wish I could be in a Broadway chorus."

"I could not write without my dog, Rhoda, a Lab-chow mix."

"I would trade any writerly success if it would mean my children would be happy."

"I hate George Bush, John Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and Cheney. I hate bullies. I hate people who say, ‘It's so fun,' and say, 'literally,' when they mean, ‘figuratively.' "

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Gilmour
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 8, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      A.B., Barnard College, 1971; M.A., Syracuse University, 1973

Table of Contents

Foreword Daniel J. Siegel Siegel, Daniel J.

Sect. 1 Roots of Empathy

1 From a Tiny Seed 3

2 Empathy: What It Is and Why It Matters 29

3 The Roots of Empathy Classroom: My Teacher Is a Baby 47

Sect. 2 The Six Strands of Connection

4 Roots of Empathy: Six Strands of Human Connection 59

5 Love Grows Brains: Teaching Children Neuroscience 65

6 Temperament: Getting to Know You 79

7 Attachment: Building the First Relationship 99

8 Emotional Literacy: The Language of the Heart 115

9 Authentic Communication: Speaking from the Heart 129

10 Social Inclusion: Setting a Place for Everyone 143

Sect. 3 Roots of Empathy and Society

11 What Babies Would Say to Bullies 167

12 What Babies Would Say about Infant Safety 183

13 What Babies Would Say to Teachers 193

14 What Babies Would Say to Parents 209

15 Changing the World Child by Child 219

Appendix A The Story of Parenting and Family Literacy Centers 229

Appendix B Roots of Empathy: The Research 239

Notes 263

References 271

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)