In early childhood, having positive self-esteem is critical as our children begin to explore the world. They need confidence in themselves in order to try new things.  Self-esteem shapes what decisions we make, the types of activities we try, and how we respond to set-backs.

In Chrysanthemum, Kevin Henkes employs the literary device, anthropomorphism, to give Chrysanthemum human traits, so that our  children can relate to her.  It’s brilliant, and it offers us a teachable moment.


Kevin Henkes – Author and Illustrator

Chrysanthemum is a happy little mouse who is so excited to finally start school. But from the very first day, some of the other students begin teasing Chrysanthemum for her long and flowery name. She used to love her name, but not any more. Her parents try to comfort her, but each new day brings more criticisms and more sadness for Chrysanthemum. Then one day, the school’s popular music teacher tells the class that her first name is long too–Delphinium–and even announces that she is going to name her soon- to-arrive baby the prettiest name she’s ever heard– Chrysanthemum!   Wow! Chrysanthemum is thrilled, and the rest of the students–even the ones had been critical before–suddenly want long and pretty names too, just like Chrysanthemum.

“Chrysanthemum” was selected as an American Library Association’s Notable Children’s Book and a Horn Book Fanfare Children’s Book Award winner.



Victoria says to Chrysanthemum, “I’m named after my grandmother”

“You’re named after a flower!”

Share stories of how you all got your  perfectly perfect names.  

  • Where do our names come from? 

  • How did your grandparents get their names?

  • Do your parents have a story about how they were named?

  • And how were you given your name?


MY NAME – I don’t remember a day when my mother wasn’t reading one of her beloved books.  No surprise……. I was named Kathleen after a character in one of her favorite books.
My parents called me “Kathy” which was much less serious and suited me.   My father reserved “Kathleen” for when I was being scolded.  🙂




Article for Parents – 
Reading Aloud: A Pathway to Talking about Feelings With Young Children