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Literature Link



Kevin Henkes


  • One Ziploc bag for each student
  • Individual letters of each student’s name—place in Ziploc bag (HINT: Make the first
           letter of each student’s name uppercase. Also, code the baggies with a number so
           you’ll know which bag to pass to which child.)


Chrysanthemum enters school loving her thirteen letter name. However, her mood quickly changes when other children tease her about her “odd” name. The problem is resolved when a kind and understanding music teacher intervenes. This book helps children understand feelings and how to accept oneself, despite children who make thoughtless and unkind comments. The value of kindness is demonstrated.

Character Education Focus:

  • Understanding and acceptance of feelings.

Reading Objective:


  • Describe the problem that the main character, Chrysanthemum, had at school.
  • Discuss her feelings during the beginning of the story.
  • Describe how the problem is resolved and how that changed Chrysanthemum’s feelings.
  • Discuss the importance of demonstrating kindness.


Reading Objectives:

  • The learners will identify letters forming their name.


  • Discuss the name Chrysanthemum and how special it is.
  • Tell students you have a special name inside a Ziploc bag for them.
  • Give each child a bag that has his/her name cut up inside.
  • Students unscramble letters to find out they are the special one! (You may have to help by pointing out the first one or two letters to
           get some students started.)
  • Students then glue letters to a piece of blank paper.
  • Students draw a self-portrait under their name.

Family Extension:

Send home a parent letter asking families to send a note to school discussing:

  • Who chose their child’s name?
  • Why it was chosen and if it has a special meaning?

Students bring their notes from home and discuss their special names with the class. If possible, add notes to self-portrait made in first extension.

ASCA: PS:A1.1 Develop positive attitudes toward self as a unique and worthy person.

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