Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse teaches to Be Sorry and Forgive
Book Units
1 Ratings
Add to Favorite  

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse teaches to Be Sorry and Forgive

Book Title: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

Author: Kevin Henkes

Illustrator: Kevin Henkes

Jewish Value: Be Sorry and Repent

Book Summary:

Lilly the mouse loves everything about school, especially her teacher, Mr. Slinger. One day Lilly comes to school with a new pair of movie-star sunglasses, three shiny quarters, and best of all, a purple plastic purse. She is so eager to show off her prized possessions to her classmates that she has a hard time listening, being considerate of others, and waiting until the appropriate time to share. After one too many disruptions, Mr. Slinger confiscates Lilly’s treasures for the rest of the day. Lilly becomes furious. What happens next speaks to issues of repentance and forgiveness in ways young children can readily connect with.

Enduring Understandings:

  • Our actions are a result of our emotions, feelings, and thoughts. 
  • It is important to take responsibility for our actions; if we have been unkind or disrespectful to someone, we need to make things better by apologizing and trying to fix the situation. 
  • We need to show respect for others by using kind words, not interrupting, and waiting our turn. 
  • It takes courage to admit when we are wrong.

Be Inspired:The ideas included are offered as starting points as you and your students explore, discover and live the lessons. Be sure to elicit and encourage student and parent participation, consistently reinforcing the value being addressed. Allow lessons to authentically develop and change based on engagement and interests.

Lesson Plan Components

For the educatorJewish Thought, Text, and Traditionsmore

At the core of Jewish tradition is the charge for us to be able to say to ourselves and to another person that we were wrong, and also to be able to say to ourselves that we are willing to change so that it will never happen again. When we have done something wrong, when we have hurt someone else or hurt ourselves, and when we are unhappy with how we have acted, t’shuvah is the solution.

T’shuvah, while frequently translated as “repent,” has its Hebrew roots in the verb, “to turn.” When we have done something wrong, we need to turn to the other direction and commit to not wronging again. In other words, t’shuvah can best be understood as returning to friendship with the person we hurt and returning to a closeness with G-d. Our goal with t’shuvah, then, is getting back on the path toward becoming the best we can become.

Saadia Gaon, the famous Talmudic scholar and philosopher, taught that the process of t’shuvah has four steps: (1) admitting that you have done wrong and committing to never repeating the action; (2) feeling bad about the hurt you have caused; (3) asking the person you wronged, and G-d, to forgive you; and (4) finding your own way to never repeat the action. What’s important about the process of t’shuvah is our awareness of our actions and our desire to grow from our mistakes. Tradition teaches us that if we were to sincerely apologize to those whom we harmed three times, we would be forgiven by God. Even though Judaism encourages us to forgive others, the act of being forgiven comes primarily from the our willingness and commitment to not transgress again.

“But repentance (t’shuvah), prayer (t’filah), and charity (u’tzedakah) temper judgement’s severe decree.” -The Machzor (High Holiday prayer book)

“If we value forgivingness as a character disposition, we should teach our children how to be empathetic.... Probably the best way to socialize our children to be empathetic and forgiving is for us to model these attitudes and behaviors for them.” -Solomon Schimmel, Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness, 2002

Questions for Reflection

1. What is the difference between saying “I’m sorry” and doing t’shuvah?
2. What things can we do to enhance our awareness of when we have wronged someone?
3. How can you incorporate the value of t’shuvah within the classroom?

Jewish every dayIncorporate Jewish Valuesmore

When the situation arises, guide students not only to apologize for something they have done which hurts another, but also to explain what they did wrong, what they might do differently next time, and how they can “make amends.” (Suggest ideas such as giving a hug, fixing a block building that was knocked down, or drawing an apology picture.) Encourage respectful behavior by reminding students to use kind words, to not interrupt others, and to wait their turn.

Materials and resourcesmore


  • Copy of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse 
  • Introducing the Story: a purple purse with sparkly sunglasses, a glittery chain to hold them, and three quarters 
  • Reading the Story: “movie-star” or sparkly sunglasses for each student (very inexpensive ones found at stores like Party City or online from or materials needed to make individual “movie-star” sunglasses for each student 
  • After the Story: Emotions Wheel 

Sharing The Storymore

Introducing The story

Show students your purple plastic purse. Have them guess what items might be inside and then show them the contents—a pair of sunglasses, a glittery chain to hold them, and three shiny quarters.

Show the cover of the book. Explain that you will be reading the story Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Encourage students to try to say, “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” five times—a real tongue twister!

Explain that this is a book about Lilly, a little mouse who has a purple plastic purse. Ask students to look at the cover and discuss what emotions Lilly might be feeling. Then say, “One day, something happens that gets Lilly so mad, so furious, that she does something for which she isn’t very proud. Let’s see what happens …”

Reading The Story

Read the story aloud, stopping when appropriate to explore illustrations, address comments, clarify, predict, and guide students’ understanding of the story and the values be sorry—t’shuvah and forgive—s’lichah.

When you get to the section where Lilly takes her new purse to school and is wearing her new glasses, help students feel Lilly’s excitement by giving each a pair of “moviestar” sunglasses to wear, or have them put on the ones they made.

The following questions can help facilitate your classroom discussion:

  • What are some of the things Lilly likes about school? What makes Mr. Slinger such a “WOW” teacher? 
  • Why did Mr. Slinger finally take away Lilly’s beautiful purple plastic purse? What would you do if you were Mr. Slinger? Do you think he did the right thing? Explain. 
  • What do you think Lilly is going to write about and draw while she is in the Lightbulb Lab? • Why did Lilly make such a mean drawing of Mr. Slinger when she used to like him so much? (Elaborate on the fact that she was angry, even furious, that her purse was taken away.) 
  • How do you think Mr. Slinger felt when he opened his book bag and found the mean picture that Lilly drew of him? 
  • How did Lilly’s feelings change after she read the letter from Mr. Slinger? Was she still angry? 
  • Why did Lilly put herself in the uncooperative chair? How did it help her? Do you have a place where you can go and think? (Discuss the fact that Lilly was doing repentance—t’shuvah. She was very sorry for what she had done.)
  • What things did Lilly and her family do to apologize to Mr. Slinger? 
  • Do you think it was easy for Lilly to admit she had done something wrong? Why or why not?
  • What would have happened had Lilly not apologized to Mr. Slinger? 
  • What did Mr. Slinger do that helps us know he forgave Lilly? 

Conclude the reading with upbeat music and some “interpretive dance” to celebrate, just as Lilly and Mr. Slinger did in the book.

After The Story

Revisit key themes from the story and discuss the following:

  • How have you apologized or tried to “make things better” after doing something for which you weren’t proud? What did you do or say? 
  • Discuss the fact that Lily did more than say, “I’m sorry.” In order to be truly sorry, she had to stop her “wrongdoing.” She had to stop being disrespectful in class and she had to stop making mean pictures. 
  • What is the best apology you ever received? Did you forgive that person? How did you feel afterward? 
Bring students together for discussion, using either “Emotion Cards” or the “Emotion Wheel” (attached). Give students the opportunity to discuss various emotions and the impact they have on our actions. To make Emotion Cards, cut out the pictures and affix them to a notecard. To create the Emotion Wheel, simply copy the attached wheel and mount it on a paper plate. Use a fastener to attach an arrow that spins. Give students the opportunity to take turns spinning the wheel. For each emotion selected, involve students in the following:
  • What might happen to cause you to feel this way? 
  • How do you think you would act when you feel this way? For example, after discussing angry, ask, “Has anyone ever gotten so angry (furious) that they did something that they weren’t very proud of?” Have the students share a few stories. 
Write a class book of advice for Lilly and bind it in a purple purse-shaped cover. Have the students draw pictures and dictate words. They may include suggestions on how to better follow classroom rules, deal with angry feelings, show respect, and make apologies when they’ve been unkind or disrespectful.


Explore, Discover, and More Extension and Reinforcement Activitiesmore

Classroom Lightbulb Lab

Creative Play, Art 
Establish your own special area where students are given free time to use their imaginations and express their ideas creatively. Stock your version of the “Lightbulb Lab” with a variety of art and writing materials and educational toys.

Role Reversal
Dramatic Play 
Divide students into two groups. Ask one group of students to pretend they are Lilly and the other half to pretend they are Mr. Slinger. Ask the “Lillys” what they would do after they had sent a mean note and drawing to Mr. Slinger. Ask the “Mr. Slingers” what they would do when they received the note, story, and new picture from Lilly. From student responses, you will be able to determine if the enduring understanding of repentance and forgiveness have been learned.

The Purple Plastic Purse Game

After reading the story, show students a plastic purse, box, or container filled with a variety of objects that all begin with the letter P. Items could include a puppet, pig, potato, puzzle, picture, pencil, pot, pen, etc. Give riddle clues for each item. For example, “I am long, round, and skinny. You can draw with me. You can write with me. You can sharpen me. What am I?” When the item has been identified, pull it out of the bag. You can have students practice alliteration by creating tongue twisters such as the following for each item: “I have pulled a pointed purple pencil from the purple plastic purse.”

P Projects

Involve students in one or more of the following:
  • Create something new using one or more of the P objects. (See Literacy Activity above.) 
  • Create purple purses. Using blue and red tempera paint, show students how it can be mixed to make purple. Have them paint their own purple purses. Have students share what treasures they would like to put in their purple purses. 
Dance Party!
Movement, Expression 
Using a variety of music, have students move their entire bodies in a manner that expresses how they feel when they listen to the music. They can jump up and down if the music makes them happy; they can show they are scared if it is frightening music; etc.
Lilly’s Big Day and Other Stories
Story Time 
This audio CD brings to life the texts of nine well-loved picture books by Kevin Henkes, including Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Harper Children’s Audio, 2006, CD).

Feelings Faces
 Dramatic Play 
Ask students to act out the emotions that they might feel. Whisper an emotion into a student’s ear and ask the rest of the class to guess the feeling by looking at the student’s face and body language. This same question can be a useful tool in helping them resolve conflict, fostering emotional perceptiveness in the students.

Music Connectionsmore

List of All Songs

Uh Oh

by Miss Emily Aronoff Teck

Inspiration Text

“But repentance, prayer, and charity temper judgment’s severe decree.” -High Holiday Liturgy


To introduce the song “Uh-Oh” teach students that the word in Hebrew that is used to say that a person has done something wrong is chet, which literally means “missed the mark.” Illustrate common behaviors that are correct (on the mark) and incorrect (off the mark) by creating a large target in your classroom. Put examples of correct behaviors (such as helping or sharing) on the bullseye, place examples of poor behavior (such as forgetting to say please) outside of the bullseye, and place the most inappropriate behaviors (such as hitting or name calling) even further from the bullseye. Add behaviors to the chart that are suggested by the song and from student suggestions after singing the song.


Uh-oh, uh-oh, I made a mess
Uh-oh, uh-oh, I must confess
I knocked something over, wasn’t looking where I played
It was an accident but I know what I must say


I’m sorry, I’m sorry
I’ll try not to do that again
Will you forgive me, please forgive me
I really hope you’ll still be my friend

Uh-oh, uh-oh, I said words not true
Uh-oh, uh-oh, I know what I must do
Get honest and tell the truth, I feel badly about lying
I might mess up again, I know, but I will keep trying


Uh-oh, uh-oh, my friend is starting to cry
Uh-oh, uh-oh, I think I know why
I knocked over her tower, she worked so hard to make it
It was not on purpose but not nice of me to break it


Additional Music Connections

Evidence of Learningmore

Observe students “making things better” if they have been unkind or disrespectful. For example, saying sorry, giving a hug, fixing a block building that was knocked down, or drawing an apology picture. Document these behaviors in student portfolios.


Teach “I’m Sorry.”
Asking children simply to say, “I’m sorry” doesn’t always translate into making better choices. Children often feel bad when they have wronged a friend or broken a house rule. Encourage parents to give their child some time and create a space where he or she can go to think about what happened before demanding an immediate apology. When the child is ready to apologize, have him or her acknowledge what he or she is sorry for. When the child says, “I’m sorry,” ask what he or she is sorry for. Also ask, “What can you do to fix this mistake?” Suggest that parents talk with their child on how to avoid doing the same thing over again. This lesson can also serve as a reminder to teachers and parents that when the adults in a child’s life misspeak or make a mistake, the importance of a thoughtful and honest apology when appropriate is great, and those adult mistakes can be terrific teachable moments.

“Prized Possession” Show and Share

  • Draw a small purple purse template. Have the students trace it on the fold of a piece of purple construction paper, and then cut it out. Glue up the sides, leaving the top open. Attach a strand of purple beads or a pipe cleaner for the handle on each side. 
  • Send the purses home with the students along with a note to the parents with a summary of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and directions for home involvement. Explain that the students are learning about the Jewish value of kavod, respect, and that they will practice exercising respect during class show-and-share time. Request that the parents help their child choose three “prized possessions” to put in his or her purple purse (the student may also use photos of an item instead) and bring back to school for class show and share. Ask that they help their child describe the items that he or she chose and explain why the item means so much to him or her. 
  • During class show and share, review with the students how to be respectful listeners. Have each student share one item from his or her purse, describing the item and explaining why it means so much to him or her. 
  • After the presentation, allow the student who shared to call on three students to say what they liked about the presentation.

literature connectionsmore

TitleAuthorIllustratorBook Summary
I Did It, I’m Sorry Caralyn BuehnerMark BuehnerThrough funny, multiple-choice questions to solve specific dilemmas, this book teaches young children basic moral values. (Note: Some situations are more sophisticated than others, so select carefully.)
How to Lose All Your Friends Nancy CarlsonNancy CarlsonThis book is full of wrongdoings and humorously depicts situations in which children commonly do things that hurt others. It is a book about friendship, but the scenarios can be used to discuss wrongdoings and what can be done to show that you feel sorry for those actions.
I'm Sorry Sam McBratneyJennifer EachusTwo best friends find out that “I’m sorry” can be the hardest words to say, even to those you love.
Goldie Is Mad Margie Palatini Goldie is mad that her baby brother, Nicholas, drooled all over her favorite doll and she yells at him. She “hates” her brother. However, while sitting in time-out, Goldie ponders life without her brother and realizes she would miss his baby smell and his wonderful hugs. Goldie decides to forgive her brother and to say she’s sorry for yelling at him.
Beautiful Oops Barney Saltzberg This book presents a life lesson that all parents want their children to learn: It’s okay to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery.
The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story* Jacqueline JulesKatherine Janus KahnThe Ziz, a clumsy but good-hearted bird of folklore, is always making mistakes. When he accidentally destroys a vegetable garden, he flies to Mount Sinai to ask G-d for advice.
Words Are Not for Hurting Elizabeth VerdickMarieka HeinlenWords contain much power and can be harmful and hurtful. Children learn how to use positive words to express negative emotions such as frustration and anger. The book’s activities and discussion starters teach children to apologize sincerely.
* PJ library Books
Lesson Contributors

Raleigh Hahn Temple Beth Am, Jupiter, Florida and Temple Beth Am, Miami, Florida