An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong

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An American Girl:
Chrissa Stands Strong
Chrissa Stands Strong.jpg
Directed by Martha Coolidge [1]
Produced by Mark Amin
Ellen L. Brothers
David Higgins
Andrew Reimer
Cami Winikoff
Screenplay byChristine Coyle Johnson
Julie Prendiville Roux
Based onChrissa
by Mary Casanova
Starring Sammi Hanratty
Austin Thomas
Kaitlyn Dever
Adair Tishler
Ariela Barer
Shelby Harmon
HBO Films
Sobini Films
The End Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • January 5, 2009 (2009-01-05)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (2009) is the 5th film in the American Girl series, starring Sammi Hanratty in the title role. [3] It is based on the Chrissa books in the American Girl series written by Mary Casanova. [4] [5]


The screenplay was written by Christine Coyle Johnson and Julie Prendiville Roux. The film was directed by Martha Coolidge. It won a 2009 Gold Award from National Parenting Publications (NAPPA). [6]


Chrissa Maxwell and her family move from Iowa to Minnesota in order to be closer to Chrissa's grandmother, Louise "Nana" Hanlon, after the death of Chrissa's grandfather. At her new school, Chrissa has difficulty making friends and soon finds herself bullied by Tara James, Sonali Matthews and Jayden Johnson, a trio of girls called the Mean Bees.

Chrissa tries to befriend another girl, Gwen Thompson, who is also being bullied by Tara, Sonali and Jayden. Gwen avoids Chrissa at first, but Chrissa later finds out that Gwen avoided her because she was homeless and ashamed of it; Chrissa and Gwen then become best friends. Later, Gwen tells Chrissa in the music room that her mom got a job and they're moving into an apartment. Tara, Jayden, and Sonali overhear the conversation between them. Gwen asks Chrissa to cut her bangs for her in the bathroom. Tara, Jayden, and Sonali enter and Tara offers to cut them for Gwen. She purposely does a terrible job, telling Gwen she really looks like a homeless person. Gwen gets angry at Chrissa because she thinks that Chrissa told Tara that Gwen is homeless. The other girls are sent to the principal's office by Mrs. Ziminsky, a teacher, who demands the truth. Tara lies and says that Chrissa told her about Gwen being homeless; Jayden also lies and says that she didn't see anything. However, Sonali tells Mrs. Zimisky the truth about what happened. The principal suspends Tara, Sonali and Jayden — Tara for three days, and Sonali and Jayden for only a day. After her suspension, Sonali apologizes to Gwen about all the mean things she has done to her, and leaves Tara and Jayden, then befriending Chrissa and Gwen.

After the incident, the bullying gets more intense. Posters and rumors about Chrissa on the Internet are spread around by Tara and Jayden. Chrissa quits her school swim team as a result of being picked on, after an incident that involved her older brother, Tyler. Chrissa gets advice from Mrs. Rundell, her art teacher, to tell her parents about the bullying. After she tells her parents, they help Chrissa see that sometimes, bullies are mean because they want to feel better about themselves, and try to do so by insulting others and putting them down.

With her newfound confidence, Chrissa and her friends show everyone that they are happy with who they are by doing fun things such as wearing homemade painted headbands. Their happiness and confidence annoys Tara and Jayden, but the three friends ignore them. Chrissa decides to do a project to make people aware that about bullying, and rejoins the swim team. The big swim competition approaches, and Chrissa realizes that she and Tara have to work together if they want to win the relay. Although Tara is reluctant, Chrissa assures her that though they may not be best friends, they can still work together to win. Their teamwork earns them their victory, and they reconcile and hug.

The 4th grade class present their project about how bullying affects everyone and how friendship can overcome bullying. One of Chrissa's best friends from her previous school, Amanda, visits her for the summer; Amanda befriends Sonali and Gwen, and the four become best friends.

Main characters

Minor characters

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