Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes promotes identity, relationship skills and self-management. It also gives you the opportunity to promote:
- Self-esteem and self-confidence
- Bullying and jealousy
- The effect words can have on others
- Names are an important part of our identity
- Being true to yourself
Scroll down for Chrysanthemum activities, discussion questions and videos.
Chrysanthemum parents name her after a flower because they think she is perfect and it is the perfect name for her. The little mouse loves the way her name sounds and how it looks important when it is written down.
She loves her name until she starts school. On her first day, her new classmates tease her because of her unique, long name. She tells her parents “School is no place for me… My name is too long. It scarcely fits on my name tag. And I’m named after a flower.” Her parents reassure her how special it is, but Chrysanthemum ‘wilts’ every time she is teased.
Mrs Twinkle, the music teacher, announces to the excited students she is pregnant. She defends Chrysanthemum when she is teased by telling the students she is also named after a flower and thinks Chrysanthemum would be a lovely name for her baby.
Suddenly, all the other students want to be named after a flower, making Chrysanthemum feel proud of her name once more.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Publisher: Perfection Learning (1996)
Take a look inside
Kevin Henkes Offical Website
- A Weekend with Wendell (1986)
- Sheila Rae, the Brave (1987)
- Chester's Way (1988)
- Julius, the Baby of the World (1990)
- Chrysanthemum (1991)
- Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse (1996)
- Wemberly Worried
- Lilly's Big Day (2006)
- Penny and Her Song (2012)
- The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
- My Name Is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
- My Name Is Elizabeth! by Annika Dunklee
- The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide
- Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
- Your Name Is a Song by J Thompkins-Bigelow
- My Name Is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Chrysanthemum Activities & Resources
I have created a bundle of literacy graphic organizers for Chrysanthemum. You can find them at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. There are many activities for each literacy area to differentiate depending on your student’s ability/age. They include activities for:
- Cause & Effect
- Character Traits and Analysis
- Making Connections
- Point of View
- Problem and Solution
- Retelling, Sequencing and Summarizing
*Click on these links to discover book recommendations on these topics.
Click the image to see a preview of the full literacy resource for Chrysanthemum on Teachers Pay Teachers
External Chrysanthemum Activities & Links
- Kevin Henkes Website: The World of Kevin Henkes Activity Booklet
- Prindle Institute for Ethics: Guidelines for Philosophical Discussion
- Read Works: Chrysanthemum lesson plan
- Scholastic: Extension Activities
- Teacher Vision: Chrysanthemum Lesson Plans
- WITS Program: Questions and Activities
Chrysanthemum Read-Aloud Questions
Read aloud sessions are a wonderful way for children to understand the connection between written text and spoken language. You can model reading habits and strategies, reading fluency, tone and eye contact. You can also introduce different genres, authors and illustrators.
- Describe the problem faced by Chrysanthemum and how it was solved.
- How does Kevin Henkes show Chrysanthemum’s emotions throughout the book?
- Why was Chrysanthemum so upset after her classmates teased her because of her name?
- Why do you think Victoria, Rita, and Jo made fun of Chrysanthemum’s name?
- How could Mrs Chud have handled the teasing in a more effective way?
- What do you think of how Chrysanthemum’s parents handled the situation? Could they have done anything differently?
- How does Chrysanthemum feel after Mrs Twinkle intervenes? How do you know?
- Why do you think Chrysanthemum put her most prized possessions and good luck charms in her pockets before school?
- What did the students learn from Mrs Twinkle?
- Give advice to Victoria about how she should treat people who are different from her.
- How should Chrysanthemum’s classmates have reacted when they heard her unique name?
You can find a full set of 72 discussion cards in the Chrysanthemum Book Companion or as a separate pack.
Chrysanthemum Book Videos
Books by Kevin Henkes
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