Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Chrysanthemum

Henkes, Kevin (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 1996. 32 pages
First published: 1991
ISBN: 9780688147327 (paperback)
9780688096991 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Chrysanthemum adores her unusual name until the day she goes to school and her classmates begin to tease her incessantly about being named after a flower. Despite her parents’ constant reassurance that she is special, Chrysanthemum “wilts” each time the children belittle her. That is, until the day when Mrs. Twinkle, the music teacher, reveals a special secret about herself that makes all the girls envious of Chrysanthemum.

The bright and colourful multi-media illustrations are a perfect choice for a book that showcases flower names, but they also enrich and supplement the text and offer younger readers a better understanding of the struggles of the central character.

This book can be used in the context of a discussion on bullying, but it can also be read aloud during the first week of school to build a positive classroom community and help children with long or unusual names to integrate. For older children, it could serve as the starting point for an inquiry into the origin of their own names.

  •  

    Share your memories of your first day of school. How do you feel about your name? If you were able to change your name, what would you change it to? Why?

  •  

    Write your name on a nameplate and decorate it. Research its meaning.

  •  

    Organize the names of the students in your class into alphabetical order. Find other ways to sort them (e.g. by sex, letter patterns, number of letters, etc.).

  •  

    Write a script of the conversation between Chrysanthemum and Victoria when they find out that Mrs. Twinkle named her baby after Chrysanthemum.

  •  

    Discuss the story and illustrations. What is a chrysanthemum? Which activities does Chrysanthemum enjoy as a baby? How does she feel when she starts school? How does Chrysanthemum feel after Mrs. Twinkle intervenes?

  •  

    Write your name on a nameplate and decorate it. Research what your name means, how it was chosen, the number of letters, what it rhymes with, etc. 

  •  

    Create an acrostic with your name. 

  •  

    Create a Word Wall poster with vocabulary and expressions that are used to describe Chrysanthemum’s name. Which nice words can you use to describe a person’s name? 

  •  

    Incorporate key events into a story map. What is the story's message?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship