Kevin Henkes By: Mallory Cusic, Lauren Bryant and Kristin Norris

Kevin Henkes introduces us to many unique characters throughout his books. This unit contains nine books.

Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes (1988); Chester and Wilson had their own way of doing things until one of kind Lilly moved into the neighborhood.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (1991); Chrysanthemum loved her name until her classmates teased her about it. Her teacher stood up for her and everyone ended up jealous of her name.

Owen by Kevin Henkes (1993); When Owen was little, he liked to carry his "fuzzy" around. He wanted to take it to school but his parents wanted his to leave it at home until they turned it into something different.

Sheila Rae, the brave by Kevin Henkes (1987); Sheila Rae claims she is super brave and makes fun of other people for not being as brave as she is. One day, she gets lost on her way home but her sister saves her showing how brave she really was.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (2000); Wemberly worried about everything. She especially worried about starting school until she met her new friend.

A Weekend with Wendell by Kevin Henkes (1986); Sophie learns to assert herself when playing with her energetic friend Wendell.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (1996); Lilly wanted to show the class her new purse when Mr. Slinger told her she needed to wait. After writing a mean note to Mr. Slinger, she realized how wrong she was.

Penny and her Song by Kevin Henkes (2012); Penny came home from school and wanted to singer her song to her family. She is asked to wait but has a hard time waiting. When she finally gets to sing it, her whole family loves it.

Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes (1990); When Julius was born, Lilly was not happy about all of the ways her life was changing. She felt this way until her cousin complained about him and Lilly stood up for Julius.

Below are some videos of a person reading a kevin henkes book that could be viewed instead of reading a book aloud to the class.

Comprehension Activities

After reading and listening to the different books mentioned above, students can pick out different character traits specific to each character. They will also be able to make connections between themselves and the characters. These graphic organizers involved identifying character traits, comparing two characters, learning about specific character traits (brave) through the book, and making connections.

This activity allows for the class to make a poster together where each student contributes one character trait for each character. These could be used to compare the characters after completing a few books and posters.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction booksKevin Henkes spends a lot of time developing his characters and giving his characters unique traits. Henkes books can be paired with books that focus on being brave, kind and happy.


This reader's theatre is the story of Chrysanthemum broken down into acts with characters and a narrator. The class could act out the story instead of reading it or do both.

This board game has students pick a card and answer the question on the card. If they get it right then they get to roll the dice and move their piece. This could be played with a group of 4-6 students and the questions answered orally.

Visual Reprentation

After reading multiple books, students can draw their favorite Kevin Henkes character or create and draw their own character.

This worksheet can be paired with Lilly's PURPLE Plastic Purse because she breaks a rule and learns why it is important.

Students will create a flower and put character traits of chrysanthemum on the petals.

After reading Wemberly worried, students will create a mouse and background then say what they worry about and what Wemberly worries about.


Penny's Song

Audiobook - this is an audiobook of chrysanthemum put on youtube. it only has the words, it DOESN'T go through the pictures.


This song can be played as the students are working on comprehension activities and then discuss how elements of happiness are incorporated into the different books.

QR Codes can be used on ipads to connect students to videos of specific books and Kevin Henkes Website.

Opinion: Which Kevin Henkes character is your favorite and why? Give three reasons with supporting details.

Expository: What does it mean to be courageous, and how does Kevin Henkes show that to us?

Narrative: Write about a time that you were courageous.

Prompt: Write about a time that you were courageous. Explain why you feel like you were courageous at this time. Go through the writing process.

Plan: Discuss with students a few different stories of when you were courageous, and why you felt you were courageous in this situation. Students will individually brainstorm a list or graphic organizer containing a variety of times in their life that they were courageous, along with a few details of each event. Make sure there is a space for students to jot down why they feel they were courageous at these times.

Draft: Students will work in their writer’s notebook to draft a story including one time they were courageous, and why. The focus is on the events of their story and how it shows courage. Students may use their graphic organizer to get their writing started. After a draft is complete, type each draft in large font, double to triple-spaced, and print them out to use during writing conferences.

Revise: Hold writing conferences with students in small groups of 4-6. Have students peer review another student’s writing using a peer review sheet that focuses on the elements of the story, making sure to highlight the importance of stating why they felt they were courageous in this situation. As students work together, make suggestions for improvements on story elements and word choice. Students then work on a revised version.

Edit: Once a revised piece has been written, students will edit their own work as well as their peers’. Students should focus on spelling, grammar, and sentence fluency.

Publish: Students will write or type a final copy accompanied by as many illustrations that they like. Students can bind their books together, including a cover page. Students may share with the class, or in small groups.


Activity: Vocabulary Roll

Students will roll dice and do an activity, depending on what number the dice lands on.

Vocabulary words

Chrysanthemum: appreciate, envelope, scarcely, dreadful, winsome, fascinating, pleasant, jealous, envious, trifle, possessions, speechless, wilted, blushed, longingly.

Wemberly Worried: worried, peeked.

Owen: fairy, ratty, essential, sniffed, buried, handkerchiefs.

Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse: privacy, permitted, jaunty, tune, sneaked, disturb.

A Weekend with Wendell: relatives, patient, bakery, allergic.

Chester’s Way: rarely, accidentally, duplicated.

Sheila Rae, the Brave: principal, brave, fearless, bared, evil, frightening.

Penny and Her Song: silly, flopped, plopped.

Julius, the baby of the world: insulting, admired, stroked, extraordinary, clever, doubtful.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.