I remember like it was just yesterday introducing Siella to her first American Girl doll. On her fourth birthday, when we took her on a special trip up to the Fifth Avenue store to pick out her baby. Of all the choices, I was shocked she decided on a bitty baby after seeing her eyes light up at all of the big girl characters. She loved that doll, whom she named Heart Star, and it’s still probably her most favorite doll. Each holiday or birthday since, we’ve added to her collection, and Gemma has since joined the doll scene. Watching them play mom to their little ones, it so precious, because they take such good care of them. And the cutest is hearing them say to one another, “OK you be the mom, and I’ll be the sweetie”. I finally realized why they say sweetie, because that’s what I call them all the time. And I can totally picture each of them passing along these heirlooms to their children one day.
Super excited to have now added Gabriela, the 2017 Girl of the Year, to our collection. Each of the dolls comes with her own back story, and I think Gabriela’s story might be my favorite of them all. She is a true creative talent, who uses the power of poetry to help her break down barriers and overcome a personal challenge with stuttering.
Her special story will be told in a series of three books, published by Scholastic and written by Teresa E. Harris. The first book Gabriela, hits shelves in January and tells the story of a quiet, creative girl growing up in a family of artists. She inherited a love of the arts from her parents, especially her mother, but spoken word poetry becomes her own passion. Although Gabriela often finds herself in a battle with her own words because of her stuttering, she discovers that her poetry, filled with wit and honesty, helps her speech flow more easily, which gives her the confidence to find her voice to help save her beloved community arts center from being torn down.
Siella and I dove right into the book, and although we haven’t finished, it has sparked many important conversations between us. Siella hasn’t started reading yet, and we’ve been working on it, but she sometimes comes home super discouraged, because her friends are already reading. In school, they are asked to read aloud, and she desperately wants to participate. Sure, I know it’s only a matter of time before it clicks, but I worry about her remaining confident.
I think the messages American Girl provide are relevant to young girls, and now more than ever, its time to dream big and inspire them to become whatever they want to be. Super excited to have partnered with American Girl, and we will be giving one lucky SITC reader, a Gabriela McBride, Girl Of The Year Doll of their own! Head over to my Instagram to enter!