Give Your Daughters Difficult Names

by Assétou Xango

Photo by Karson Hallaway

Writing Workshop

Workshop Title: Names

Step 1

Start by watching the embedded video. Then simply talk about it. What issue(s) does it shed light on, both directly and indirectly? Briefly discuss.

Step 2

Read “Give Your Daughters Difficult Names” by Assétou Xango. When you’re done, briefly discuss the poem. How does it reiterate or expand upon the discussion we just had? Take a few minutes to discuss.

Step 3

Say, “Jot down your personal experiences or observations with “names.”  Make sure to tell your students that the prompt for this brainstorming session is intentionally vague, and that they should simply go with what immediately comes to mind. Then take a few minutes to brainstorm.

Step 4

Have your students compose a poem inspired by Assétou Xango’s “Give You Daughters Difficult Names.” Their poem can take any direction they would like, but they should make sure it is rooted in the concept of a “name.”

Step 5

When the students are done, have them share their responses with one another.

The full presentation may be found HERE.

Analytical Lesson

Area of Focus: Various

Step 1

This lesson allows students to analyze various concepts and skills, so it is recommended that you have covered several of the “standalone” lessons before assigning this one.

Step 2

Have your students watch the following video. Then simply ask your students, “What does a name mean?” Field a few responses.

Step 3

Watch the following recording of “Give Your Daughters Difficult Names” by Assétou Xango. Then ask your students about the speaker’s attitude toward a name. Briefly discuss.

Step 4

Have your students open the following document and go over the introduction and instructions with them. In this assignment, your students are going to compose their own “mini-poem” that underscores the message of Xango’s piece. Then give your students time to work.

Step 5

When your students are done, have them share their pieces with one another. Ask each group to briefly discuss their reasoning behind their piece and why they chose to compose it a certain way.

Lesson Details

Lesson Info


  • Various


  • Appreciation
  • Community / Culture
  • Family
  • History
  • Joy
  • Love
  • Race / Ethnicity / Racism

Literary Tags

  • Diction
  • Figurative Language
  • Imagery
  • Selection of Detail
  • Sound Devices
  • Structure (Syntax)
  • Tone