Activity Overview

As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. With character mapping, it’s easy for students to follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enriching.

For The Sunflower have students not only track characters based of of Wiesenthal’s description but also track their initial reaction or response to Simon's question. In the last box have students explain the reason they believe each character responded the way they did. They can use opinion or evidence from the text.

Clicking "Use This Assignment" will copy both the example above as well as a blank template for you to customize as desired. You may want students to start from scratch, or provide them with the questions and characters! Use it as is, or edit it for the level of your class. Printing it as worksheets, for your students to complete while reading, is a fast and easy way to incorporate this character map into your classroom.

The Sunflower Characters

Simon Wiesenthal The author and narrator of The Sunflower. He is confronted by a dying Nazi soldier seeking forgiveness and is unable to answer his plea.
Karl A 21-year-old Nazi soldier, who committed atrocities during WWII. He seeks out Simon because he is Jewish and asks Simon’s forgiveness from his deathbed.
Josek Simon’s friend, who has lost his faith in God. He discusses the question of forgiving Karl, at length. Josek’s reaction to Simon's question is that Simon didn't have the right to forgive someone for something done against others. Josek would have clearly denied Karl forgiveness.
Arthur Simon’s friend, who has lost his faith in God. He discusses the question of forgiving Karl, at length. He is known as a cynic. Arthur's reaction to the question is to feel relieved there is one less SS officer in the world. He reminds Simon that the sunflowers he covets will die and rot away.
Adam Adam formerly studied architecture in Russia, until his family was annihilated by the Nazi’s. His response to Simon’s question is that he would see a murderer die 10 times a day.
Bolek A Polish Catholic prisoner in a new camp where Simon was transferred. Bolek has a varied response to the question of forgiveness. He believes that Simon should not have forgiven Karl, instead he says Simon did the right thing by listening to a dying man's confession. In Bolek’s view, only God can pardon a man for his sins.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.

  1. Identify the major characters in The Sunflower and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables for Character Information, Attitudes/Beliefs, and Response to Forgiveness.
  5. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)

Type of Assignment Individual

Type of Activity: Character Map

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Character Map Template
Create a character map of the characters in the story. Put the character's name in the title boxes and choose a character and scene to represent each one. As you read, take notes on the characters by answering the questions.
33 Points
25 Points
17 Points
Character Picture & Scene
The characters and scenes are both appropriate for the book's characters.
Many of the characters and scenes match the book's characters.
More than half of the characters and scenes do not match the characters in the book.
Accuracy of Notes
Most of the information of the notes is correct.
Many of the notes have correct information, but some are incorrect or missing.
Less than half of the information of the notes is correct and relevant.
Work is complete, thorough, and neat.
Most of the sections of the character map were at least attempted and work is presentable.
Character map is unfinished and/or disorganized.

More Storyboard That Activities

The Sunflower

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