by Kevin Henkes (2008) Ages 4 to 8
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, Chrysanthemum is a heartwarming story about self-esteem and accepting who you are, regardless of others’ opinions. Chrysanthemum is a young mouse who loves her name — until she starts school, where some of her classmates tease her about it being too long and the fact that she was named after a flower. Her teacher Mrs. Twinkle reminds the students that we should not judge other people but, rather, should accept others and make them feel included.
This is an important message for students. Henkes pays specific attention to detail in his illustrations, which provide additional context to complement the text. Children will be able to relate to the characters in the book and to follow the story’s development. Chrysanthemum provides a valuable life lesson about acceptance: it is a must-read resource.