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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New American Girl dolls are New Orleanians

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 12:08 PM


If you're a female who was born in the '80s, there's a good chance you owned one or several American Girl dolls — much to the dismay of your mother, who had to sate your demand for those $100 dolls and all their tiny hats. And then of course you had to have a subscription to American Girl Magazine. And real girl-sized American Girl clothing. And an American Girl doll who looks exactly (sort of) like you. And yearly pilgrimages to American Girl Place. (The Hairpin has an excellent primer on what your childhood American Girl doll says about the rest of your life.)

But besides being a black hole of consumerism, the American Girl franchise is wonderful way to get girls interested in American history. The dolls each represent different time periods, and they come with their own historical fiction books and movies (more stuff to buy!) telling their stories. The dolls' narratives encompass everything from slavery in the Civil War-era to more recent recession times, when people are living out of their cars (yes, there was, at one point, a $95 homeless American Girl doll. It was not well received).

American Girl unveiled its newest dolls Monday, and they're New Orleanians. Cecile and Marie-Grace are two gals living in the city in 1853, working to overcome racial barriers (Cecile is a "well-to-do" African-American and Marie-Grace is a white newcomer to New Orleans) and a nasty yellow fever epidemic to be best friends forever! Cecile also has a parrot named Cochon. You can learn more about the dolls here.

Harry Connick Jr. and his 13-year-old daughter Kate created a song for the new characters, with proceeds from iTunes sales going to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music — which is a good enough reason to beg your mom for these dolls, right?

(Also, enjoy comedian Jena Friedman's list of "Rejected American Girl Dolls.")


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