Before I read I asked the students to really think about the main character's feelings and the author's message. As we read the book, I passed around a large paper heart. Each time Chrysanthemum was teased because of her name, we crumpled up the heart. Every time someone did something nice to her, we tried our best to smooth it out. By the end of the story, the heart was a wrinkled mess that could not be smoothed out perfectly.
Your children made the connection that our own hearts feel wrinkled and crumpled sometimes when we don't like what someone says. Words do hurt. We then tried to put band-aids on the heart as a way to show that we can own our mistakes and apologize. The heart will probably still be wrinkled, but it is healing. We have hung our mended heart among our buckets to remember to use kind words.