Skills Building: A Chair for My Mother (PK-5)

Written and Illustrated by Vera B. Williams

TEKS: Reading K.6(B); 1.6(B); 2.6(B); 4.6(B); 5.6(B)

Pre Reading Questions

  1. What is empathy? 
  2. How can we empathize with others? 
  3. Think of a time that you were really sad or hurt and someone showed you empathy. What did they do, and how did it make you feel?

Post Reading Questions

  1. Why did the little girl work so hard to get her mother a chair? 
  2. How did she show empathy for her mother?
  3. How did their community empathize with their situation? 
  4. Think of a time when something bad happened to a friend or family member. How do you think they felt? Describe how it made you feel. 
  5. How did/could you show empathy in that situation?

Creative Enrichment Activity: A Gift for Someone Special (Pre-K-5)

Overview: Just like the family and neighbors In the book the students will make a gift for their teachers or school staff that will make their day easier. They will create flower pen-toppers so their chosen staff member will always be able to find their pen! When introducing the activity, explain how frustrating it might be for someone not be able to find a pen or lose it often when they need it to do their job. Ask the students how they might empathize with someone who has lost something that they need. Have they ever lost something they needed? As they create their pen, encourage them to discuss with a partner their experience with losing something that they needed and how that made them feel.


12 squares (3”x3”) of colorful scrapbook paper (white paper can also be used and the students can color designs on it)
12 squares (2.5”x2.5”) of colorful scrapbook paper  
12 pencils 
3 cotton balls cut into 4 pieces and spritzed with perfume 
24 flower template shapes
12 scissors
12 glue sticks
12 thin craft sticks (or wood coffee stirrers)
1 roll of packing tape (or regular tape)
12 pens
Perfume (optional)


  1. Before the class begins, cut the scrapbook paper into three-inch and two-and-half inch squares. Also cut out the flower templates, and cut the cotton balls into four pieces and spritz with perfume.
  2. Put students in pairs. Together, they will select two pieces of scrapbook paper, one cotton ball, one pair of scissors and a pencil.
  3. Students will fold one of the paper squares in half, then half again, making a smaller square. They will then trace the template provided onto the square. 
  4. Once they have finished tracing the template, they will cut out the shape. 
  5. Students will repeat this process for their second sheet of scrapbook paper, this time using the other template.  
  6. Students will return the scissors, and get a glue stick and craft stick.
  7. They will glue the smaller flower onto the larger flower t. Next, they will glue the cotton ball to the center of the flower and glue the flower onto the craft stick near the top.
  8. Students will return the glue stick and get a pen and a piece of packing tape.
  9. Students will tape the pen to the craft stick using the packing tape.
  10. Have students decide which teacher or staff member will receive their flower pen and write the name of the person on the back of the flower.

Reflection Questions

  • How might it feel for someone to lose a pen they need for their job?
  • How were you able to empathize as you made this pen for them?
  • How does it feel to make a surprise gift for someone else?
  • How will the teacher or staff member feel about getting a surprise gift?
  • How did you work together as a team to make the flower pen?