I’ve been back in the states for the past week (pictures of the trip are coming very soon!), and I do love home sweet home. There is a lot I really love about traveling abroad–and there’s certainly a lot more of it I want to do. But traveling also reminds me how very happy I am to have grown up American.
One particular American joy of my childhood was the world of American Girl dolls. American Girl’s foundation of historical dolls, with their individual story lines carried through book series, captivated me as a kid, and my love for AG grew as the company introduced more lines, like the look-a-like contemporary dolls.
AG encouraged reading, imagination, and learning about history and cultural influences on contemporary American society — and everything in the catalog was AWESOME. Seriously, I was going through a bunch of boxes a few weeks ago containing childhood belongings and I found myself wanting to be 8 years old again so I could play with all the super-cute accessories and clothes. Soccer gear, ice skating dress, school books, picnic set… there was even a doll-size rolling suitcase. I’m not sure what the purpose of that even was. But it was awesome.
I always like to find out which of my friends used to share my obsession with AG and which doll they had, which books they liked, etc. Even more so, I like to hear about ways AG continues to inspire self-esteem and recognition of diversity in young kids. Most recently, I saw this on Hello Giggles. This is a good step, and AG should keep pushing to be inclusive in all ways so that more and more kids can have the opportunity to grow up with an experience like I did with AG.
Speaking of giving kids opportunity, since the dolls and toys sold by AG can be pretty expensive from what I remember, I did a little research to see if the company participated in any kind of programs to supply disadvantaged kids with reading materials, dolls, etc. According to the AG web page for Shine On Now, AG supports programs for child literacy and also donates books, dolls, clothes, and funds to partner organizations to help kids experiencing poverty, health problems, or other distressed situations.