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Kevin Henkes Author Study

Below you will find activities to match three of Kevin Henkes most popular books! The activities were shared by Teaching Heart visitors who entered the 2005 back to school contest. The winning lessons are seen below. Use the link to view some of the other lessons shared. Thank you to all that entered the contest! I am sure your ideas will be put to good use by many teachers around the world.

Click a link to view ideas about the given book


And the six winners: Renee Liles/Arkansas, Renee Cooperman /New York, Kelly Brown/NC, Ms. Quintero/FL, Shana Swindle/Mississippi, & Lynne McLaughlin/Texas

Renee Liles was selected as the grand prize winner!

Rene Liles is our Grand Prize Winner (over $50.00 in Prizes):
A Teaching Heart Magnet, Pen, and Sample CDROM (contains many files from our CDROM's and Packets - Will Also Include Contest Activity Sheet)
The Book Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
The DVD Chrysanthemum and More Kevin Henkes Stories (Scholastic Video Collection)
The Teacher Resource Book: Teaching With Favorite Kevin Henkes Books: Creative, Skill-Building Activities for Exploring the Themes in These Popular Books
A Teaching Heart Tote Bag to Carry All Your New Goodies in!

The other five winners are Runners-Up & they Win
A Teaching Heart Tote, Pen, Magnet, & A Sample CDROM (contains many files from our CDROM's and Packets - Will Also Include Contest Activity Sheets)
Note: The sample CDROM will not contain the same files as the sample CDROM awarded to the Dr. Seuss Winners!!!


Lillys' Purple Plastic Purse
Plastic Baggie or Zip-loc Bag
Purple Bulletin Board or Construction Paper
Glue Dots or Hot Glue Gun

Fold purple paper and cut to fit inside baggie
Insert in baggie with fold at the bottom
Twist thin strips of paper to make handles-attach with glue dots

I have attached sheets I made for story recall, counting sets, and sorting coins.

Leave plain or make a personalized label
Ashley's Purple
Plastic Purse

You could put in "movie star sunglasses" and/or coins to practice coin recognition.

Students could draw pictures or cut out magazine pictues of what they would keep in a purse.

Renee Liles/Arkansas

This story is about Lily's most prized possession and a great September activity to learn more about your students. After reading this story, talk about "prize possessions." Discuss how Lily's purse was so special to her. Then, I share one of my prized possessions from my childhood and read a description I have written about my object. Then, I have students begin writing a description about one of their prized possessions. I provided copies of a paperbag (for boys) and a larger purse (for girls) so the students can draw their prized possessions after they write their final copies. Also, I send a letter home to parents requesting students bring in their most prized possessions for the writing activity. Ask that these possessions be placed in a labelled brown paper bag for safe keeping. We then have a class sharing day. Students read their writing and show their actual possessions. After sharing day, I post students' papers & pictures on a bullentin board. Renee Cooperman /New York


I teach first grade and this is truly one of my favorite stories! I always share this story during the first few weeks of school.

Student nametags are taped onto their desk. After sharing and discussing the story, Chrysanthemum, I go to the board and draw a box (to represent my piece of plain paper) then write my name at the top. I tell the students we are going to count the number of letters in my name. After this, I ask students to count the letters in their name then whisper it to their partner. I ask for volunteers to share how many letters they counted and call on several students. I can recognize which student(s) might need additional help. After students count and share, then I draw ___ and put space for each letter in my name on the page; we are counting my letters together and I am modeling what students are to do at the board while students count and watch me draw the blanks. Then several students volunteer for me to put their name on the board as another example. Each student is given plain paper. They write their name at the top of their paper. Pencils down. I ask students to count the letters in their name and again whisper it to their partner. Then model on the board what students with 2 letters, 3 letters, 4 letters, etc. and have those students to draw their blanks while we are working together then put their pencil down after they are finished. The only students who pick their pencils up are the ones with that number of letters in their name, and then I go to the next number. After all numbers are shared and their partner checks their paper to see if it is correct, I then pass out magazines, advertisement papers, etc. They are to find then glue the letters that are in their name on individual lines, in the correct order. After students have found the letters, they can then either draw a picture with the beginning sound under the letter or cut pictures from the magazines, advertisements, etc. We share our pages with the class and then we make a class book with the papers. The book is titled How many letters? When I make class books, I bound then with yarn or silver rings and they rotate home with each student until everyone has had a chance to share it with their family.


Kelly Brown/NC

I love to read the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes at the beginning of the year. It's a great story to read when you would like everyone to learn their names. After reading the story Chrysanthemum with my class, I always start a discussion about our names and what our names mean to us. I explain that at times, our names can even describe us. I model a free form map on the board with the name of Chrysanthemum,,,, or even better "Mickey Mouse".(They seem to know that character well.) Then, I have the children give me ideas of things they think of when they think of Mickey Mouse or what describes him. Immediately, the class starts participating and calling out...little mouse, friendly, pluto, Disney World, etc... On the board I write the name in the center and then I map out from the name. I tell the class they can either write words around the name or draw pictures that describe the name. Once I'm done modeling how to do a free form map on the board, I pass out a big sheet of white construction paper to the class and have them create a free form map around their names. Their maps always come out super nice, and bright. I tell the children that their maps must be in color and full of details. I tell them to draw or write things like where they were born, their hobbies, pets, friends, personalities, siblings, favorite color, etc... Here is an example of a free form map I made with my name just so you can see it and have an idea of what it looks like. Hope you like my idea, my children always seem to love it. It works great with 2nd and 3rd grade. I just wish I would have kept a sample from the ones my kids from last year.

PDF - free_form_map_scan

Thank You,
Ms. Quintero
(2nd Grade, Miami, FL.)


Using various sources on the web, I created two poster/transparency templates for Chrysanthemum. I also created a letter home to parents asking their for their help in an extension activity.

Files (pdf)

chrysanthemum letter home

chrysanthemum story elements

chrysanthemum story sequence

Shana Swindle/Mississippi

Read the story to the class and chart ideas about times when students did something that they regretted. You may even want to share a time like that of your own. Send them to their seats and let them write about a time like that on the attached printable. You could copy it on purple paper to make it even cuter.

Add different coin amounts (depending on your grade level) to the money page and have students practice counting money.

Use the graphic organizer to talk about the story elements.

Make purple construction paper purses in


Lilly's Purple Purse Files

Lilly's Money

Graphic Organizer

Lynne McLaughlin/Texas

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