If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen some pictures of American Girl dolls. My mom, my sister, and I all have dolls. I first got into American Girl when I was 6, and my favorites were always the Historical dolls. Back then, our vacations consisted of visiting historical sites, so I instantly fell in love with them. Eventually, my mother and sister followed. In this post, I want to introduce my dolls to you, and talk about our History.
Felicity Merriman, My First Doll
When I was little, we would often visit Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. So when I discovered the American Girl Historical characters, I instantly knew that Felicity Merriman was the one I wanted!
She is from 1774, growing up in Williamsburg during the birth of the American Revolution. She is a lover of horses and a free sprit. The only problem I have with her books is when she comes across an abused copper mare owned by a drunken man named Jiggy Nye. She falls in love with the horse. Instead of getting help from her father or grandfather, she decides to sneak out, bond with the horse (whom she now calls Penny), and even STEAL Penny from Jiggy Nye! She knew that stealing was wrong and justified her behavior because of the circumstances (abuse). However, this situation is eventually resolved in the book positively.
When I received Felicity, my mom decided she wanted to get her best friend, Elizabeth Cole, to have the full set.
Elizabeth Cole is a loyalist, who movves to America with her mother, father, and snobby older sister. Despite the fact that Felicity and Elizabeth are on opposite sides (Felicity’s father being a patriot) they still bond against all odds.
Addy Walker, my 2nd Doll
Addy was the next on my list of favorite dolls.
Addy Walker is an African American slave in 1864, who escapes from North Carolina to Pennsylvania with her mother. She hopes to start a new life, and reunite with the rest of her family, who are separated. When she arrives in Philadelphia, she finds that starting a new life isn’t as easy as she expected. Her uncle had often reminded her that “Freedom’s got its cost.” Through perseverance and determination, Addy pushes to succeed, even if the odds are against her.
Addy’s series of books were the first American Girl books I read. I relished every word. In the state where I previously lived, my library had an audio series to Addy’s books. I can’t read her books without thinking of the voice of the narrator who read that audio series. Thus, Addy’s books were the main reason I was drawn to her. Her story was captivating and her perseverance, inspiring. One of my favorite quotes from the series is when her mother says, “If you fill your heart with hate, then there will be no room for love.” This was just after Addy’s father and older brother were sold to another owner and Addy is angry. She exclaims how much she hates white people for what they’ve done to her family. And there’s more depth to this quote than just “love will save the day.” It reminds me of a verse in the book of Romans: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, ESV) When you are mistreated, and respond in with vengeance then you are no better than the ones who hurt you! “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord’ (Romans 12:19, ESV).” There is some wisdom in fighting anger with kindness. God will serve justice on judgement day. It is not our responsibility, but His.
I believe Samantha’s movie was the medium that drew me to her.
Samantha Parkington is an orphan living during 1904 in Bedford, New York with her Grandmary. There she meets Nellie O’Malley, a lowly servant girl, whom Samantha takes under her wing. The two become great friends. However, when her Uncle Gardener brings his surprise fiancé to visit, Samantha’s life is about to drastically change.
I loved the style and culture of the Victorian era in the early 1900s. Her story was both compelling and exciting. Samantha was very independent-minded. She would take charge in an attempt to resolve problems without always considering the consequences. It took me a long time to actually own her. I didn’t receive her until she was about to be retired in 2008. She was the first doll I bought with my own money. I purchased her just before Christmas, when my mom bought Nellie. Fun fact: Nellie was my grandmother’s (my mom’s mother’s) name.
Chrissa Maxwell, 2009 Girl of the Year
2009 was a great year because of one big adventure: my aunt bought me, my mom, my sister, and herself, tickets to St. Paul, Minnesota! We visited the American Girl Bistro in The Mall of America. This fulfilled my dream of visiting an American Girl store! My aunt specifically took us for my birthday. My aunt announced that she was going to let my sister and I buy a doll of our choice! I don’t quite remember why I was so drawn to Chrissa. Maybe it was because I really enjoyed her movie? Maybe it was the anti-bullying theme? Despite the fact I have been home-schooled all my life, I have been bullied by other homeschoolers and some of the moms! Regardless, Chrissa was the one I chose! I am blessed to own most of her collection. I’ve rarely been interested in The Girl of the Year dolls. Chrissa is truly unique!
Chrissa Maxwell is a girl from Iowa whose family moved to Minnesota to live with her grandmother. She starts at a new school and has to make new friends. The bad news is that the bullies of her school have targeted her from the moment she walked into the classroom. With the help of her new found friend, Gwen Thompson, and a former bully named Sonali Matthews, they will stand up against bullying, and encourage others to do the same.
Kaya was a doll I had been in love with for a long time!
Kaya is a Nez Perce Indian living in the Northwest Idaho region during 1764. Kaya’s book series is one of my all time favorite American Girl series! It’s exciting and action packed! I love the journeying through an uninterrupted, natural Native American life! I love cultural history! That’s a big reason why I enjoyed her books so much! Native American cultural fascinated me! I received Kaya for Christmas the same year I received Chrissa.
My parents promised me that if I passed two years of Spanish, I could have Joséfina.
Joséfina Montoya is a Mexican girl growing up in New Mexico during the year of 1824. Joséfina lives on a farm with her two sisters (one additional sister is married with children) and her father. Their lives dramatically change when Tía Dolorés, her deceased mother’s sister, comes to live with them. She teaches them new skills to keep their farm running.
Joséfina’s book series was immensely enjoyable. I also listened to this series on audio. Many Mexican Americans live in my city. I love learning about their culture!
I received Melody this Christmas. I was excited when they announced they were doing a Civil Rights doll, especially considering all the racial tension in the past few years! I read the books and I highly recommend anyone reading them! It’s MUCH better than the short film! (Possible Review!) There are some intense moments involving injustice. Melody is very likeable and relatable! Her parents and grandparents are wise, and take Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings to heart: “The time is always right to drop what is right.” The books do not shy away from the prejudices done to African Americans of that time period. The books remind us that violence is not the answer.
Melody Ellison is a girl growing up during the Civil Rights movement of 1964. She loves to garden and she loves to sing. But most of all, she desires to stand up for what’s right. However, when the bombing in Birmingham traumatizes her, she must strive to be brave, and have faith.
Julie Albright is a girl who moves to on the other side of San Fransisco after her parents are divorced. She must adjust to a new school, a new town, and overcome new prejudices.
Rebecca Rubin, My Sister’s 1st Doll
Rebecca was the doll my sister chose from the American Girl store visit in Minnesota.
Rebecca Rubin is from a Jewish family of nine (including her grandparents) who are immigrants from Russia to New York City. Rebecca is fascinated by the theater, specifically the new medium of “moving pictures” and longs to become an actress. Unfortunately, growing up in a heavily traditional Jewish family makes it difficult. She is persuaded to focus on her future husband instead her passion for the Arts. When she hears word that her cousin and family are in danger back in Russia, she decides to take matters into her own hands by saving money for their tickets to come to America.
I found it really hard to enjoy Rebecca’s series. Rebecca did not have the privileges like her older sister and younger brother. She felt unimportant amidst her family. I was so emotionally frustrated that I never read past the second book. Now that I am older, I would like to give her books another try, reading them all with the intention of grasping the entire context.
I desire to inspire others with my American Girl dolls and their stories, to educate others with the beautiful tapestry of American History!