Kim Phuc Lesson Plan

Teacher's resource. Includes classroom activity and discussion guide.

Kim Phuc lesson plan
Credit: Kasha Slavner

Lesson Plan Description

Students watch an interview with Kim Phuc from "The Sunrise Storyteller" (run time 5'40").

The film was directed by student filmmaker Kasha Slavner and went on to win the 2018 MY HERO International Film Festival Ron Kovic Peace Prize and Women Transforming Media Student Award. Students can consider how it is in their power to create films about their heroes.

Students then answer the following questions in a class setting or as a separate essay assignment.


Kim Phuc - excerpt from The Sunrise Storyteller

Kasha Slavner
Young filmmaker Kasha Slavner interviews Unesco Goodwill Ambassador Phan Thi Kim Phuc, who survived a napalm bomb when she was a 9-year-old during the Vietnam War.


In 1972, when Kim Phuc was 9 years old, photographer Nick Ut took a famous photo of her running naked and burned from a Napalm attack during the Vietnam War. 

The photo shocked the world, depicting the horrors of war. Richard Nixon initially wondered if the photo was a fake because it would increase anti-war sentiment in the public. Ut won a Pulitzer Prize for the photo.

For Kim Phuc, it was difficult to live with the famous photo, the shame of being photographed naked, her feelings of disfigurement from the Napalm burns and the fact that so many had died during the war, including family. She suffered from depression and sucidial thoughts.

Later, as an adult, she was able to defect from Vietnam. She and her husband were granted asylum in Canada and became a Canadian citizen. She overcame her personal struggles and turned them into something positive by working with UNESCO as a peace activist. She also established the Kim Phúc Foundation for child victims of war in 1997. It is now known as The KIM Foundation International.

In 2017, she wrote the book Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace.

Most recently, in February 2019, she was awarded the Dresden Peace Prize. 

Discussion Guide

1. This is the photo “Children running from a napalm strike” by photographer Nick Ut from the Library of Congress.

 Children fleeing napalm strike. AP/Nick Ut. Fair use via Library of Congress

What do you think is happening in the photo? What does the photograph make you feel? What questions does it make you ask? 

2. Nick Ut, the photographer, said: "Even though it has become one of the most memorable images of the twentieth century, President Nixon once doubted the authenticity of my photograph when he saw it in the papers on June 12, 1972... The picture for me and unquestionably for many others could not have been more real. The photo was as authentic as the Vietnam War itself. The horror of the Vietnam War recorded by me did not have to be fixed. That terrified little girl is still alive today and has become an eloquent testimony to the authenticity of that photo." Why do you think Nixon thought the photo was not real?

3. What does Kim Phuc say is the most important question?

4. What hero qualities does Kim possess? What made her choose to live her life as a peace activist?

5. Why did director Kasha Slavner decide to make a film about Kim Phuc? If you were going to make a film about a hero, who would you choose and why?




CTA Create
Credit: mh

Discover a New Hero 365 Days a Year


Organizer created on 3/29/2019 6:07:01 PM by Xenia Shin

Last edited 3/30/2022 1:27:57 PM by Abigail Richardson