American Girl Doll has embraced Motown and civil-rights era Detroit with the release late this summer of a 9-year-old African-American doll and aspiring singer named Melody Ellison.
In Depth Look:
Nine-year-old Melody is growing up in Detroit in the mid-1960s, a time of great energy, optimism, and change for the African American community. She is a singer and loves to perform in church, with her family, and in her community. Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, which was gathering momentum, and the music scene, including the success and popularity of Motown Records and its artists.As Melody gains more awareness of racial inequality and her sense of community grows from her extended family to include her neighborhood and, ultimately, all African Americans, she is inspired by Dr. King to have a dream of her own: to lift her voice for fairness and equality.
The BeForever doll grew up in a mid-1960s Detroit entrenched in “great energy, optimism, and change for the African American community,” according to an announcement on the company’s website. She will retail along with a paperback book for $115.
No official release date has been announced.
American Girl BeForever™ is a line of dolls and books that connects girls ages 8 and up with inspiring characters and timeless, compelling stories. First introduced in 1986 as The American Girls Collection, the line gives girls today the opportunity to explore the past, find their place in the present, and think about the possibilities their future can bring. At the same time, the BeForever characters help girls see the common threads—the shared interests, the shared challenges, and the shared dreams—that tie children from all times together
Each character’s classic story is told in an engaging two-volume series that brings her era to life for young readers and focuses on such universal themes as family, school, cultural celebrations, and the inevitable changes and challenges every girl faces as she grows up. From a daring Native American girl living in the Northwest in 1764 to an optimistic girl growing up in San Francisco in the mid-1970s, the BeForever characters illustrate lasting lessons of hope and determination, and the enduring power of being true to yourself.
There are currently eight BeForever characters in the line:
- Kaya, an adventurous Nez Perce girl with a deep respect for nature and a dream of being a leader.
- Josefina, a quiet New Mexico girl who uses her heart to heal others in 1824.
- Addy, a courageous girl who escapes slavery and keeps her family strong in 1864.
- Samantha, a kindhearted girl in 1904 who won’t let “proper” society stop her from helping others.
- Rebecca, a lively girl who wants to shine bright for others in 1914 New York City.
- Kit, a clever girl with a can-do attitude who creates better tomorrows in 1934.
- Maryellen, an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd in 1954.
- Julie, an upbeat San Francisco girl who stands up and fights for what’s right in 1974.