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The Reading Culture

Revisit - The Heart of the Story: Karina Yan Glaser Talks Empathy in Writing

The Reading Culture
The Reading Culture

Grace Lin (The Year of the Dog, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) shares her thoughts on the value art provides to those who experience it and those who create it, and how it contributes to getting us in touch with our own humanity.

On Today's Show

  • "Maybe if they haven't been in that situation, they know someone who has, or they have friends who have really struggled with losing loved ones. That all helps build empathy." - Karina Yan Glaser

Karina Yan Glaser is always emotionally honest in her stories. Pulling largely from her own experiences, she lets her feelings seep onto the pages in a way that makes it impossible not to feel as a reader. But despite writing for children, she doesn't hide any of those hard emotions such as anger, sadness, and grief. She believes in the power of stories to help kids practice empathy and be prepared for the tough situations we all face in life.

Her takes on community, diversity, and hardship are what make her series The Vanderbeekers such a success. In this episode of The Reading Culture, she joins to share how her own reading journey has shaped who she is as a writer and how she approaches building empathy into her stories.

Karina has also developed a reading challenge in partnership with Beanstack for listeners and Beanstack partners. Her theme is books where New York City is a character. You can learn more about the challenge here.


Chapter 1 - Getting to know Karina (3:53)

Chapter 2 - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (8:22)

Chapter 3 - Becoming a Writer (16:36)

Chapter 4 - Empathy in Stories (20:16)

Chapter 5 - The Culture of Reading in Schools (28:59)

Chapter 6 - A Question From a Reader (33:35)

Chapter 7 - Beanstack Featured Librarian (36:41)

This episode's Beanstack featured librarian is Megan Wilson, a librarian at Aggieland High School in College Station, Texas, which is part of the International Leadership of Texas charter schools network. Today, Megan shares with us a book she loves to recommend to her students.

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