Chrysanthemum – Self-Expression

In Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, the main character loves her unique name until she goes to school, where she is embarrassed and bullied about her 13-letter moniker.Chrysanthemum never stands up for herself; only when a beloved teacher celebrates her beautiful name does Chrysanthemum beam with pride and gain the favor of her peers. I would read the story first, then lead students into a discussion using Audre Lorde’s quote about self-expression and having the courage to stand up for oneself. We would then engage in a revision of this story, either written or oral, in which Chrysanthemum takes Audre Lorde’s advice.

Level:  Elementary English/Language Arts

Subject Area: American Literature

Author:  Tiffany Heitman



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