by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum is the story of a girl being teased about her name, and how her family and a teacher help her through the situation to restore her full self-confidence again. This is a good bedtime story as that is when children are more likely to be reflective or share feelings at that time of day. It is also a worthy anytime story, or for when the time might be right. It is a good story to help children understand they should not tease others, also.
Chrysanthemum is an absolutely perfect girl. When teased at school about her name, her parents reassure her by telling her both she and her name are: “Beautiful . . . precious, priceless, fascinating, and winsome.” But even so, she dreams her name is Jane, which is an extremely pleasant dream. Then at school, the class meets Miss Twinkle the music teacher who also has a flower name. The classmates suddenly begin to think Chrysanthemum is a wonderful name after all. There is a little surprise at the ending I won’t spoil for you!
This story may be read ahead of children finding themselves in situations like this, so the story can be referred back to and discussed when it might be needed. This is a great first day of school book to preempt name calling first thing!
Here are two free PDF work pages to accompany the reading of this story: Chrysanthemum work page One page could be used the first day of school as children write or draw about the things they can do, and the page could be used for sharing. The second page is a short writing activity that could be used when writing workshop is up and running.
Happy reading, Carolyn