American girl doll guide

Table of Contents

This is a list of all of Kit’s’s books that have been released.

See also: Kit’s Collection, Ruthie’s Collection

Central Series

  • Meet Kit: An American Girl
  • Kit Learns a Lesson: A School Story
  • Kit’s Surprise: A Christmas Story
  • Happy Birthday, Kit!: A Springtime Story
  • Kit Saves the Day: A Summer Story
  • Changes for Kit: A Winter Story

Ruthie’s Book

  • Really Truly Ruthie

Short Stories

  • Kit’s Home Run
  • Kit’s Tree House
  • Kit’s Winning Ways
  • Kit Uses Her Head
  • Kit and Millie Ride Again

Italicized short stories were published in Kit’s Short Story Collection and never got a single-volume book.


  • Danger at the Zoo
  • Midnight in Lonesome Hollow
  • A Thief in the Theater
  • Missing Grace
  • Intruders at Rivermead Manor
  • The Jazzman’s Trumpet
  • Menace at Mammoth Cave

Craft and Activity Books

  • Kit’s Friendship Fun
  • Kit’s Magnetic Mini World
  • Kit’s Art Studio
  • Kit’s Cooking Studio
  • Kit’s Fashion Studio
  • Kit’s Paper Dolls
  • Kit’s Frame Puzzles
  • Kit’s Stationery Set
  • Kit’s Just For Fun
  • Kit’s Play Scenes and Paper Dolls
  • Kit Fashion Portfolio Design
  • Kit Treasure Tote
  • Kit’s Color and Craft

Other Books

  • Welcome To Kit’s World
  • Kit’s Railway Adventure
  • Kit’s World: A Girl’s Eyes View of the Great Depression
  • Full Speed Ahead: My Journey with Kit


  • Kit’s Story Collection I
  • Kit’s Story Collection II
  • Kit’s Short Story Collection
  • Read All About It!: A Kit Classic Volume 1
  • Turning Things Around: A Kit Classic Volume 2
  • Kit: Read All About It
  • Kit: Turning Things Around

The Nellie doll.

The Nellie O’Malley doll, Best Friend of Samantha Parkington, was released in 2004. Nellie was archived with Samantha’s collection by American Girl in May 2009, and sold out on December 4, 2008.

Nellie Doll

  • Face Mold: Josefina Mold
  • Skin: Light/pale, with freckles
  • Hair: Strawberry/honey blond, shoulder length, bangs, side part
  • Eyes: Dark blue

Meet Outfit

Nellie with Nellie’s Promise.

Nellie’s meet outfit is representative of the type of clothing she receives once she moves in with (and then is adopted by) Gardner and Cornelia Edwards.

Swiss Dot Dress

Blue and white knee length dress: White dotted swiss over blue cotton. Double gathered 3/4 length sleeves. White eyelet lace neck ruffle trim. Attached and gathered blue satin sash around the middle.

Hair Ribbon

Wide light blue satin hair ribbon to match the sash on her dress.


White tights; these are worn under her bloomers. Historically a girl would wear garters and stockings, but tights are easier to put on.


Black plastic Mary Jane style shoes. Her shoes are identical to Samantha’s.


White cotton puffy “bloomer” underpants with elastic at waist and legs. Nellie’s underpants are identical to Samantha’s.

Meet Accessories

Nellie’s Meet Accessories.

White Straw Hat

Partially meshwork white summer hat. Trimmed with purple pansies and a wide, blue satin ribbon like the one on her dress.

Drawstring Bag

Light blue drawstring bag. White, green, and purple pansy design; gold tassel on the bottom and gathered trim at top.

Celtic Cross Necklace

Silver Celtic cross pendant on a chain. It was given to her by her mother and representative of their Irish background.


White cotton embroidered handkerchief. White lace trim around the edges.


Replica Irish penny of George IV of 1822.


  • Nellie was the first explicitly non-Latina doll to use the Josefina Mold.
  • Nellie was the first Best Friend doll to be released.

The modern incarnation of the American Girl dolls is better in some ways and worse in others. The lineup includes more racial diversity, and there’s the ever-expanding line of self-help-y books on topics like puberty and bullying. I can personally vouch for the quality of American Girl Magazine, as it taught me everything I know about locker decorating and planning the perfect sleepover. And yet…Samantha used to come in a school-appropriate checkered dress, and now she comes in a pink party outfit. Almost everything is now pink or purple or mint green. Which is not only historically questionable, it’s insulting. As if girls can’t like anything that’s not aggressively girly.

But back to my dolls. Samantha’s face is permanently smeared with cheap makeup and her hair matted from my failed attempts to learn the French braid. Nellie, purchased when I was getting dangerously close to too old for dolls, is in near-mint condition. They sit together on top of my white childhood dresser next to a bulbless lamp and a Juicy Couture candle and a Snoopy alarm clock. I lost their accompanying books, and most of their shoes, long ago, but in a plastic box under my bed are a handful of “today”-style clothes and half a dozen Edwardian-era outfits. It’s from this pile that I choose, every six months or so, their ensembles. Blue/pink dresses with the appropriate hair bows for spring/summer, red/green for fall/Christmastime, plus a fuzzy white hat that is, I promise, ridiculously cute.

For a while I was “saving” my dolls for my eventual daughter. I originally picked Samantha because she looked (light skin, dark hair) most like myself and lived (in a big house with no siblings but doting caretakers) most like myself. And then I got Nellie because Nellie is Samantha’s friend/adopted sibling. Now, though, there’s Rebecca Rubin. Rebecca is Jewish and lives in New York and wants to be an actress. Rebecca is the character I’m most like and probably the one my future children would relate to (my plan is to have hilarious children; this is a plan a person can have). So, not sure they’d make such special heirlooms. I looked—briefly—into selling the dolls online, but the cash they’d fetch didn’t seem worth the effort. My nieces are now too old to inherit them, and besides, they were raised on trips to the American Girl store and American Girl DVDs and American Girl everything; I think they would have found Sam and Nel a little retro, even for historical characters. I’ve held on to a selection of other “nice” stuff from my childhood: a stuffed animal puppy, Dr. Seuss books, a few board games, and, of course, a binder of Pokémon cards. But I rarely look at any of those items, and I certainly don’t play with them.

In other ways, though, I am constantly…tending to the garden of my childhood self, to use a crappy metaphor I just made up. We all are. We click through Harry Potter slideshows and paint our nails glittery pink. We listen to nineties music and “like” pictures of friends we haven’t seen since middle school. It’s not (just) nostalgia. An adult identity isn’t formed from thin air; it’s built atop all our previous selves, and sometimes we have to check in with those selves. I strive every day to be a progressive feminist without a colonialist worldview or white savior complex. But if I need a good cry, I’m fucking watching A Little Princess (“PAPA!” “SARA!”).

Maybe the rose-tinted version of history isn’t something I’m willing to get rid of. Maybe I never will be, even as I acknowledge and learn its flaws. Maybe, actually, I need it, to keep me grounded in a version of myself and a vision of the future I can make good use of. Caring for others and saving the day and learning lessons and, hell, optimism, were values that got me through a lot of potentially confusing years. I have, among so many other things, Nellie and Samantha to thank. And so even though I know they aren’t real, I feel like the least I can do is make sure they are dressed OK. Not that looks are so important. But I would hate for them to be uncomfortable.

For more on doll culture, listen to the American Girls, Now episode of Glamour’s podcast, Work Wives:

The Finders-Keepers Rule.

Historical Character Mysteries (or American Girl Mysteries) are mystery stories starring Historical and BeForever characters.

Each story is set either after or during the events of the Central Series (for example, Shadows on Society Hill happens after Changes for Addy; however, The Runaway Friend happens soon after Meet Kirsten). The books are written by well-known authors from the History Mysteries series; the target audience is the nine-to-twelve age group. More mature topics are covered than are touched on in the Central Series, such as the effects of war on returning soldiers post World War Two, and include Looking Back sections.

Since BeForever, several prior mysteries have been reprinted with new covers and additions, such as The Crystal Ball’s reprint including a glossary of Yiddish words.

List of American Girl Mysteries


  • The Silent Stranger by Janet Shaw
  • The Ghost Wind Stallion by Emma Carlson Berne

Felicity Merriman

  • Peril at King’s Creek by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
  • Traitor in Williamsburg by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
  • Lady Margaret’s Ghost by Elizabeth McDavid Jones

Caroline Abbott

  • Traitor in the Shipyard by Kathleen Ernst
  • The Traveler’s Tricks by Laurie Calkhoven
  • The Smuggler’s Secrets by Kathleen Ernst

Josefina Montoya

  • Secrets in the Hills by Kathleen Ernst
  • The Glowing Heart by Valerie Tripp

Cécile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner

  • The Hidden Gold by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • The Cameo Necklace by Evelyn Coleman
  • The Haunted Opera by Sarah Masters Buckey

Kirsten Larson

  • The Runaway Friend by Kathleen Ernst

Addy Walker

  • Shadows on Society Hill by Evelyn Coleman

Samantha Parkington

  • The Curse of Ravenscourt by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • The Stolen Sapphire by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • The Cry of the Loon by Barbara Steiner
  • Clue in the Castle Tower by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • Danger in Paris by Sarah Masters Buckey

Rebecca Rubin

  • Secrets at Camp Nokomis by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
  • A Bundle of Trouble by Kathryn Reiss
  • The Crystal Ball by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
  • A Growing Suspicion by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
  • The Showstopper by Mary Casanova

Kit Kittredge

  • Danger at the Zoo by Kathleen Ernst
  • Midnight in Lonesome Hollow by Kathleen Ernst
  • A Thief in the Theater by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • Missing Grace by Elizabeth McDavid Jones
  • Intruders at Rivermead Manor by Kathryn Reiss
  • The Jazzman’s Trumpet by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  • Menace at Mammoth Cave by Mary Casanova

Nanea Mitchell

  • The Legend of the Shark Goddess by Erin Falligant

Molly McIntire

  • A Spy on the Home Front by Alison Hart
  • The Light in the Cellar by Sarah Masters Buckey
  • Clues in the Shadows by Kathleen Ernst

Maryellen Larkin

  • The Finders-Keepers Rule by Jacqueline Dembar Greene
  • The Runaway by Alison Hart

Melody Ellison

  • The Lady’s Slipper by Emma Carlson Berne

Julie Albright

  • The Tangled Web by Kathryn Reiss
  • The Puzzle of the Paper Daughter by Kathryn Reiss
  • The Silver Guitar by Kathryn Reiss
  • Lost in the City by Kathleen O’Dell
  • Message in a Bottle by Kathryn Reiss

See Also

  • History Mysteries

Reviews and Awards

Since 1986, American Girl® books and products have received more than 100 awards and honors from the most prestigious book, parenting, and toy award programs in the country, including Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Parents’ Choice Foundation, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA), and FamilyFun Magazine. This list represents a selection of these awards.

Historical Characters

Addy® Book Series
• 1994 Book of the Year Award (Children), Blackboard African American Best Sellers, Inc.
Meet Addy
• 1994 Children’s Choice Award, Book Council/International Reading Association
Shadows on Society Hill: An Addy Mystery
• 2008 Edgar® Award Nominee, Best Juvenile Mystery
• 2007 Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award – Multicultural Fiction, Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher Online

Caroline® Doll & Book
• 2012 Platinum Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
• 2012 Gold Award, Mom’s Choice Awards
• 2012 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
Meet Caroline
• 2012 Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award, Council for Wisconsin Writers
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery
• 2013 Nominee—Best Children’s/Young Adult Mystery, Agatha Awards

Elizabeth® Doll & Book
• 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award
• 2005 iParenting Media Outstanding Award
• 2005 NAPPA Honors Award
• 2005 Parents’ Choice Approved Award
• 2005 Nick Jr. Magazine 50 Best Toys Award
Very Funny, Elizabeth
• 2006 Children’s Choice Award, Children’s Book Council/International Reading Association

Emily® Doll & Book
• 2007 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award
• 2006 Parents’ Choice Approved Award

Good Luck, Ivy™
• 2007 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)

Josefina® Doll & Book
• 1998 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award

Kaya® Doll & Book
• 2002 NAPPA Gold Award
• 2002 Child magazine Best Toy of the Year
• 2002 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award
• 2002 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award
• 2002 Nick Jr. Magazine 50 Best Toys Award
Meet Kaya
• 2002 New York Times Bestseller
• 2002 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
• 2002 Book Sense Bestseller
The Silent Stranger: A Kaya Mystery
• 2006 Children’s Choice Award, Children’s Book Council/International Reading Association

Danger at the Zoo: A Kit® Mystery
• 2005 Agatha Award Nominee, Best Children’s/Young Adult Fiction
Missing Grace: A Kit Mystery
• 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Gold Medal Winner–Pre-Teen Fiction, Mystery
A Thief in the Theater: A Kit Mystery
• 2008 Agatha Award Nominee, Best Children’s/Young Adult Mystery

Maryellen™ Doll and Book
• 2015 Silver Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2015 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
The One & Only: A Maryellen Classic, Vol. 1
• 2015 Bronze Award – Pre-Teen Fiction Historical/Cultural Category, Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards

The Light in the Cellar: A Molly™ Mystery
• 2008 Agatha Award, Best Children/Young Adult Mystery

Nellie™ Doll & Book
• 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award
• 2004 iParenting Media Great Award
• 2004 Nick Jr. Magazine 50 Best Toys Award
• 2004 Parents’ Choice Approved Award

Meet Rebecca®
• 2009 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2009 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Silver Medal Winner–Pre-Teen Fiction–Historical/Cultural, Jenkins Group, Inc. &
Rebecca Book Series
• 2010 Notable Books for Older Readers, Sydney Taylor Book Awards
Rebecca Doll & Book
• 2009 Platinum Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
• 2009 Preferred Choice Award, Creative Child Magazine
• 2009 Parents’ Choice Approved Award

Samantha® Doll & Book
• 2014 Parents’ Choice Approved Award
• 2014 Platinum Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
• 2014 Silver Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
The Curse of Ravenscourt: A Samantha Mystery
• 2005 Agatha Award Nominee, Best Children’s/Young Adult Fiction
Danger in Paris: A Samantha Mystery
• 2015 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
Samantha Doll and Book
• 2015 Family Choice Award, Family Choice Awards
The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery
• 2007 Edgar® Award Nominee, Best Juvenile Mystery

Advice and Activity

A Smart Girl’s Guide: Drama, Rumors, & Secrets
• 2015 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls & Their Moms
• 2015 Bronze Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
Pretty In Paper
• 2014 Gold Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
Friends Till the End?
• 2013 Silver Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Friendship Troubles
• 2013 Eureka! Honor Award, California Reading Association
• 2003 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
Slumber Wonders
• 2012 Eureka! Silver Honors Book (California Reading Association)
Lend a Hand: Girl-Sized Ways to Help Others
• 2011 Eureka! Silver Honors Book (California Reading Association)
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Knowing What to Say
• 2011 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2009 Children’s Choice Award, Children’s Book Council/International Reading Association
Book Club Kit
• 2008 Children’s Choice Award, International Reading Association and Children’s Book Council
Craft Sale
• 2008 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards,
Silver Medal Winner–Activity Book, Jenkins Group, Inc. &
See What You Can Be
• 2008 Children’s Choice Award, International Reading Association and Children’s Book Council
Friends: Making Them & Keeping Them
• 2007 Children’s Choice Award, Children’s Book Council/International Reading Association
• 2006 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money
• 2007 Excellence in Financial Literacy Award (EIFLE), Institute for Financial Literacy
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School
• 2004 Back-to-School iParenting Media Award, iParenting Media
Sparkle Card Kit
• 2003 Parent’s Guide Award – Activity Books, Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media
The Feelings Book
• 2002 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Boys
• 2002 Children’s Choice Award, Children’s Book Council/International Reading Association
• 2001 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sticky Situations
(Formerly known as Yikes! A Smart Girl’s Guide to Surviving Tricky, Sticky, Icky Situations)
• 2002 Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award
Paper Punch Art
• 2001 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
Girls and Their Horses
• 2000 Outstanding Award – Informational, Parent Council
Help! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies
• 2000 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award
• 1999 NAPPA Gold Award
A Smart Girl’s Guide to Manners
(Formerly known as Oops! The Manners Guide for Girls)
• 1998 Parent Council Outstanding Award

Girl of the Year™

Grace™ Doll and Book
• 2015 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2015 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2015 Toy of the Year, Creative Child Magazine
Grace™ Stirs Up Success
• 2015 Silver Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)

Isabelle™ Doll and Book
• 2014 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2014 Toy of the Year, Creative Child Magazine
Isabelle™ Dances into the Spotlight DVD
• 2014 Silver Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)

Saige® Doll & Book
• 2013 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2013 Seal of Excellence Award, Creative Child Magazine

McKenna® Doll & Book
• 2012 Gold Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

Kanani® Series
• 2011 PSLA Young Adult Top Forty or so Fiction Titles

Lanie™ Doll & Book
• 2010 Approved Award, Parents Choice Award

An American Girl: Chrissa® Stands Strong DVD
• 2010 Golden Reel Award Nominee-Best Sound Editing
• 2009 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2009 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, Gold Medal Winner–Pre-Teen Fiction–General, Jenkins Group, Inc. &
Chrissa Doll & Book
• 2009 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2009 Preferred Choice Award, Creative Child Magazine

Mia® Doll & Book
• 2008 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice

Marisol® Doll & Book
• 2005 iParenting Media Excellence Award

Kailey® Doll & Book
• 2004 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award
• 2003 Creative Child magazine Preferred Choice Award
• 2003 Nick Jr. Magazine 50 Best Toys Award
• 2003 Parent’s Guide to Children’s Media Award

Truly Me™

Truly Me™ Collection
• 2015 Best Toys of the Year, Parents’ Magazine

American Girl® Magazine

• 2016 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2015 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2014 Recommended Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2013 Recommended Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2012 Recommended Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2011 Eddie Gold Award, Folio Magazine
• 2011 Recommended Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2010 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2010 Eddie Silver Award, Folio Magazine
• 2010 Gold Award, National Parenting Publications (NAPPA)
• 2008 Recommended Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2007 Approved Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2007 Honors Award, National Parenting Publications (NAAPA)
• 2006 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2005 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2004 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2003 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2002 Gold Award, Folio Magazine
• 2002 Gold Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2001 Gold Award, Parents’ Choice
• 2000 Gold Award, Parents’ Choice
• 1999 Gold Award, Parents’ Choice
• 1998 Gold Award, Parents’ Choice
• 1995 Silver Award, Parents’ Choice
• 1994 Honors Award, Parents’ Choice

Middle Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade

American Girl Kit Mystery Series
Authors: Kathleen Ernst, Sarah Masters Buckey, Elizabeth McDavid Jones, Kathryn Reiss
Number of Books in Series: 5
Age Group: 9 – 13 years

Reading Level: AR Levels 4.6-5.1
GLE estimated 4.4-6.3
F&P/GRL estimated O-P
DRA estimated 50-60
Lexile® measure 720L-790L

Companion/Related Series: list of all American Girl series

Book 1 Summary: While working as a reporter during her summer vacation in 1935, Kit uncovers a mystery at the Cincinnati Zoo involving suspected break-ins at the monkey house.

American Girl Kit Mystery Book List:

This series can be read in any order.

Publication Order

Book 1: Danger at the Zoo
Ages 9-13. March 1, 2005.
AR: 4.7 (4.0 Points, Quiz #88624)
Lexile measure: 760L

Book 2: Midnight in Lonesome Hollow
Ages 9-13. February 20, 2007.
AR: 4.6 (4.0 Points, Quiz #118248)
Lexile measure: 790L

Book 3: A Thief in the Theater
Ages 9-13. March 1, 2008.
AR: 5.1 (4.0 Points, Quiz #121374)
Lexile measure: 740L

Book 4: Missing Grace
Ages 9-13. March 1, 2010.
AR: 4.8 (4.0 Points, Quiz #139668)
Lexile measure: 720L

Book 5: Intruders at Rivermead Manor
Ages 9-13. February 25, 2014.
AR: 4.9 (4.0 Points, Quiz #164804)

Book Sets: Sets of Up to 5 Books
Other Websites for Additional Information:
Author Website for Kathleen Ernst
Author Website for Elizabeth McDavid Jones

This article is about anatomy for Historical/BeForever Characters, Best Friend Characters, American Girl (of) Today, Just Like You, My American Girl, or Truly Me (modern dolls), Girls of the Year, Contemporary Characters, and One of a Kind dolls. Bitty Baby, Bitty Twins, and WellieWishers doll anatomy are each discussed on their respective pages.

The basic body of an American Girl Doll, as shown with Kit.

Basic Doll Anatomy here is a summary of the features of the American Girl 18″ Dolls. While each specific American Girl doll has a unique combination of eye color, hair color and style, skin tone, and face mold, there is a basic anatomy shared among the dolls. This allows every doll to wear any other doll’s clothing fairly well and means that a person is not limited to only buying clothing designed for his or her specific doll.

Overall Anatomy and Skin Tones

Dolls are approximately 18″ tall from top of head to base of feet. Each doll is given a specific “skin tone” that matches the vinyl limbs and head to a closely matching cloth body. There are for the most part three main vinyl colors designated by AG: Dark, Medium, and Light. Slight variations in tone exist due to different factories, productions, and vinyl shade variant used over time, so some dolls have been lighter or darker than these three classifications. Variations include:

  • Blue-Black Dark (such as that of Addy, Just Like You 1, and Just Like You 80)
  • Golden Dark (Such as that of Sonali, Cécile, and Just Like You 58)
  • Dark Medium (example being Kaya or Josefina)
  • Light Medium (examples being JLY #26 or Lea)
  • Standard Light (examples being Samantha, Ivy, and Just Like You 12 or Just Like You 60)
  • Slightly Lighter Light (noticeably used on and Just Like You 78)
  • Asian (obsolete)
  • Grey-tinted (defect)

In Pleasant Company days, JLY #4 had a more “golden” skin tone to reflect her East Asian origin; under Mattel, she was changed to match the “light” skin tone.

Some older dolls can have “grey” or “green” tinted vinyl due to factory issues during the 2000-2002 period. If a “grey-vinyl” doll is sent to American Girl for limb replacement, the entire doll is replaced with limbs of the vinyl tone she was designed to have.

In recent years, the Dark skin tone has become lighter and more golden/red toned than the initial blue-undertoned Dark skin; Just Like You 80 has a semi-unique shade of darker skin.

While named characters are given characterization–and thus race and ethnicity–modern dolls such as Truly Me are not tagged racially, so as to allow a purchaser to decide for themselves the doll’s race and/or ethnicity.

The doll’s vinyl can easily stain from dark clothing or shoes. Any doll stained by an American Girl product can be sent in to the American Girl Hospital at no cost. Some dolls come with their limbs covered in thin clear plastic to avoid vinyl staining in storage.


The head and limbs are made of vinyl that are made using rotational molding, leaving no seams or marks externally. The faces have a general overall look of a young, prepubescent girl with wide eyes and soft, childish features.

The face mold varies per doll; there have been nine face molds. Four so far–the Asian Mold, Marie-Grace Mold, Nanea Mold, and Joss Mold–have only been used once; the Kaya Mold was previously exclusive to Kaya’aton’my until the release of the Logan Everett doll.

The head has a flared base that holds the head to the cloth body when the neck strings or zip tie are tied. Dolls intended to have hair have a rim on the back center of the head and a fine seam around the hairline.

Head Markings

Near the neck is a copyright stamp; older dolls have “© Pleasant Co” and some have the year. Recently, most dolls say “© American Girl, LLC”; or a lower “© American Girl” near the neckline. this is dependent on when the face mold was created, not necessarily when the doll debuted. While Kaya and Kit are often found with Pleasant Company markings, dolls were never available under that name and so cannot be found as Pre-Mattel/Pleasant Company dolls.

The Artist Mark on a #4, behind the right ear.

Some dolls have small “artist” markings behind one ear, most often the proper right. These are assumed to be from early in production but cannot be relied on to give a definitive age of the doll.

Face Paint

The dolls have light blushing on each cheek, lip color, and visible front teeth (with the noted exception of the Kaya Mold and molds modified for JLY #74, 75, 76, and 77) painted to add color to the doll. Pre-Mattel dolls have very light face paint; Mattel dolls have more prominent face paint.

Every doll has painted eyebrows, generally in a color similar to the hair color. They were almost always thin straight lines (“straight” brows) until about 2002, with the release of Kaya and “feathered” brows–multiple small lines that were slightly thicker near the median and tapered out to the sides. For several years dolls could have straight or feathered brows. Starting around the time of the BeForever relaunch, most dolls with straight brows had them redone to feathered, and nowadays almost every doll is given feathered by default.

Some dolls have freckles across or to the side of the bridge of the nose and over the cheeks. Two types of freckling exist; the one first used on the Kit doll and the one used on the Mia doll.

The Grace doll was given darker tinted lips than most dolls; this was implied to be lip gloss, as paired with the lip gloss that came in Grace’s Paris Accessories.


A disassembled doll eye. L to R: Plastic backing, central eye, metal rim.

Each doll has sleep eyes that close when the doll is laid down or tilted backwards.

The eyes are made of three parts. The main eye is a half circle of molded plastic with attached lashes; there are two small pegs to allow rotation. The main eye is encased in two parts. The back is a plastic half-dome that the hinges rest in, with a stop so the eye cannot rotate back too far. Originally the plastic was black but is now a lighter white. Over the front is a metal case with oval shaping.

A removed sleep eye with brown decal eyes.

The eyes have internal decals or painting that give the iris color. Eyes are either “pinwheel” style with faint lines behind the coloring or “decal” with a solid base. During the Pleasant Company years, each doll generally had soft eyelashes that closely matched their hair color. Mattel replaced this with black plastic eyelashes for all characters.

Eyes can rust around the metal rim or stick if they get moisture or glue inside in places.

American Girl has released many different eye colors throughout the years. These include:

  • Light Blue: first used on Kirsten.
  • Decal Brown/Grey: first used on Samantha but later marketed as grey on Ivy.
  • Grey: first used on Molly; all grey-eyed dolls except Molly were discontinued during the early 2000s because they were very prone to silver eyes and later reintroduced on Ruthie.
  • Green: first used on Felicity. Mattel green is much brighter than the Pleasant Company version, which has caused it to be intensively critiqued by collectors. In 2009, the shade was toned down significantly.
  • Dark Brown/Black: first used on Addy. It is much darker than the other eye colors and has almost exclusively been used on the dolls of color.
  • Brown/Light Brown: first used in the American Girl of Today line. It is the most commonly used shade of brown.
  • Dark Blue/Sapphire: first used on Kit.
  • Hazel/Green: First used on JLY #21. Was marketed as “green” on Mia. There have been variant batches of the Hazel eyes over the years, with some more yellow/green and others more brown.
  • Amber/Olive/Light Brown: first used on JLY #26. It was first called “amber”, then “light brown”, and is now referred to as “brown” by the company.
  • Aquamarine: first used on Caroline Abbott. No other doll currently has this eye color.
  • Turquoise: first used on Saige. No other doll currently has this eye color.
  • Dark Hazel: first used on Maryellen. It is darker than the standard hazel and more emphasizes the brown, though this may be due to batch differences.

Sometime the decals can peel away internally, making the eyes look silver spotted or turn silver altogether, a condition called silver eye. This mostly happens in older dolls. The company considers this a manufacturing defect and will fix this for free through the American Girl Hospital.

Eyes can be swapped between dolls; however, most other brands of sleep eyes are not sized properly, so it is generally recommended to use eyes that came from other American Girl dolls.

Starting with the release of Nanea, white padding may be present behind the eyes.

In about 2017, American Girl changed the weights and designs of the eyes to a more solid plastic piece with less metal in the weights and sealing off the eye colors. This has resulted in in partial visibility of the white pegs and differently closing eyes.

In spring 2019 American Girl offered free “eye exchange” repairs for customers dissatisfied with the new style of eyes. They later reverted to the older style.


The hair of every American Girl doll is a wig made of high-quality Kanekalon fibers sewn to a mesh wig cap that is then glued onto the head. Any streaks or highlights are created by adding variant colors into the hair before sewing it to the wig cap. Some dolls have flesh-colored “parts” of vinyl to add realism to their hair styles; other have sewn or woven parts. Most dolls have silky straight hair with a slight to moderate curl at the end. Some dolls are given moderately curly hair which is a looser curl. Spiral curls such as the ones on #26 are made from heat set straight hair. Any doll’s hair can be temporarily curled using rollers and a wet set; more permanent curls can be put in with heat setting. Some dolls have occasionally been released with straight hair that has no curl at the end.

All wigs with a part default as a center part; side parts are made by turning the wig sideways before gluing. Straight hair is generally evened out so as to appear straight at the edge; curly hair may or may not be.

Some dolls have small “short hairs” interwoven in the back of the wig cap among the longer hairs. When the hair is parted into ponytails or braids, these hairs remain loose and partially cover the mesh wig cap making for a more realistic looking hairstyle.

Textured Hair

Textured hair is a coarser Kanekalon hair designed to simulate African straightened hair and has exclusively been used on dolls that are visually directed as “black” (though two classic molded dolls have had textured hair, they were also given tanned skin).

In 2008 the texture was made less thick and prominent for the modern doll line, and can be rather hard to distinguish from older textured hair by sight and touch, being more similar to “straight” hair than that of older dolls.

Bald Dolls

See also: Bald Dolls

Starting in 2012, bald dolls–those without hair– were made available, to represent children without hair. These dolls are sold wigless, and have smooth heads with no indication of a wig attachment applied or guide lines around the hairline.

Hair Care

American Girl does not recommend styling doll hair with plastic combs, plastic brushes (which will frizz the hair) or any comb that has been in human hair (due to human hair oils). Hair should be dampened before combing or styling every time to prevent damage. This can be done with braid spray, water, or a light leave in spray conditioner. The hair should never need to be washed with proper care; however, some dolls may need a light wash with wig conditioner or mild shampoo after extended use or dirt exposure.

To comb or brush hair, a wig brush or doll brush should be purchased and used exclusively with dolls.

The hair can be damaged or dried out by improper care; braid spray can prevent this. Extreme cases may call for a downy dunk. Severe damage such as hair cuts and massive breakage can only be fixed with rewigging or sending the doll to the American Girl Hospital for a new head.


The ears are molded on the side of the head and there are no openings. The wig is placed so that the ears are not covered. The Sonali Mold has less detailed ears. The Joss Mold has a larger opening to the ear canal in both ears to accommodate Joss’s hearing aid, though the hearing aids specific to Joss are designed to only fit in the right ear. The ears also have the same level of detail as the Sonali Mold.

Most dolls have non-pierced ears as a default. Addy Walker was the first doll to have earrings consisting of permanent gold loops in each ear; Elizabeth Cole was the first to have removable earrings.

Starting in 2008, any modern-line doll could get her ears pierced at purchase if ordered off the website. Otherwise the doll has to be taken to an American Girl Store and have the ears pierced at the salon, or sent in to the Doll Hospital. Any 18″ doll may be pierced when sent in to the Hospital or at an American Girl place.

Isabelle Palmer was the first Girl of the Year to have any ear piercing offered at purchase; Grace was the first to have unique to her earrings offered. The holes are sized for American Girl earrings and so are bigger than standard human posts. Some collectors prefer to pierce a doll’s ears themselves so they are not limited to American Girl earrings only.

As of 2012, any 18″ doll can have hearing aids placed in either the left, right, or both ears via the Hospital. These are placed so as not to block earrings, so a doll can have both.


The body is made of cloth and stuffed with polyester fiberfill. It is made to match the skin tone of the doll’s vinyl. There are shaping darts across the bottom as well.

White Body

See also: White-Bodied Doll

When the first three dolls–Samantha, Molly, and Kirsten–debuted, the bodies were made of white cloth and the clothes designed for them covered the cloth bodies completely. With the debut of Felicity, the body tone had to be changed as colonial fashions were somewhat low cut. This resulted in the body cloth being made in colors that matched the vinyl of the limbs and head so as not to stand out.

Body Tag

Body tag.

Early Pleasant Company dolls had small body tags stating that they were made in Germany for Pleasant Company. These were phased out when the company shifted production to China.

Since Mattel’s ownership, each doll has come with a body tag sewn onto the right side of their body. The text was originally as follows:

Made in China Exclusively for American Girl Middleton, WI 53562

For a while, several had typos that said “American Gril”. While there was a number imprinted on the tags as well, it was a part number for the doll and not the year of manufacture (most say “2008”).

Starting in 2014, dolls started to come with longer body tags; these have the American Girl Logo, the year, and a Registration number. They also state that the doll is made with all new content in China, stuffed with polyester fiber, and are surface washable (in English, Spanish, and French). The other side of the tag contains information about content and that the dolls are made in China; this is also repeated in French.


The joint cups for the arms and legs are made of vinyl and sewn into the body tightly. This allows for free movement of the joints.

The joints are attached to the body by means of tightly pulled elastic cords. Inside each limb and the internal body are small white semi-circle caps that were originally clamped tight with metal flanks. This allows the dolls limbs to turn and hold positions without moving and stand freely. When the elastic cord starts to lose its elasticity, the arms and legs will no longer hold position and may result in the doll being unable to stand or sit. The doll is then considered to be “floppy” and in need of restringing. This can either be done through the American Girl Hospital or by various people who have learned to do it themselves.

As of 2009, metal flanks have been removed and the elastic cord is simply knotted on both ends. This can result in limbs going floppier sooner.

Neck Strings and Zip Ties

Neck Strings.

The heads were originally attached to the cloth body by means of a thin tunnel which cotton cord is run through and then knotted. The ends of the cord which are left to dangle down are referred to as “neck strings”; cutting these short can loosen the knot and lead to the head falling off.

For a while heads were being attached with plastic zip ties after returning from the American Girl Hospital; after protest, the company went back to neck strings, which meant that heads could be attached with either neck strings or plastic zip ties.

The Lea doll was released with no neck strings; she has a zip tie attached head with the end opening over the tunnel sewn completely shut, limiting access to the tie. This was also done with the Melody doll, which implied (and was later confirmed) this will be the method for dolls going forward. The seam can be opened and the zip cut open, but it will then need to be replaced with either strings or a new zip tie.

Permanent Underwear

Left to right: Removable underwear, modified permanent underwear (“permapanties”), the Stripes and Dots Swimsuit over permanent underwear.

In February 2017, American Girl announced on Facebook that bodies for the Truly Me dolls, as well as Maryellen, Melody, Julie, and Contemporary Character dolls would have permanent panties/underwear as part of their design. American Girl stated the change was to continue to provide quality products within price points, though there were concerns that expansion into conservative Middle Eastern countries was the motivation for the change and several people felt the quality in the bodies was diminished.

The permapanties were done by changing the torso design so that the lower half was made of pale pink fabric (the color of the vinyl joint cups in the hips did not change) and, to signify the “top” of the permanent underwear, a thin satin ribbon with the American Girl logo. This also resulted in the removal of shaping bottom darting, which could result in oddly shaped “bottoms” when stuffing was shifted, seams were uneven, or stuffing was packed differently or thinner.

However, following widespread negative customer feedback, American Girl made the decision to revert back to having dolls come with separate underwear in May 2017. Only the three BeForever dolls, some Truly Me, all initially released Z Yang Dolls, and some later Tenney dolls were affected.

Customers who previously purchased dolls with permanent panties were eligible for a one-time, free body exchange to have the dolls’ bodies retrofitted with the conventional torsos (the entire body is swapped) until December 2018. Contemporary characters and modern dolls were returned with a pair of generic panties similar to those that came with the Lilac Dress, while the three BeForever Characters are returned with standard white panties.

Arms and Hands

Hands of American Girl Dolls

The arms and hands are made of vinyl. The hands have small nails and defined lines to simulate the folds where finger joints are naturally. The thumb and fingers are curled in slightly; the fingers are splayed, with the ring and middle finger fused and the pointer finger slightly fused to the middle. The pinky is separate. There are two lines on the palm. The curled fingers allow the dolls to “hold” various items.

Modified Hands

Modified right hand on the Tenney Grant doll.

In 2017, the Tenney and Logan dolls were released with modified right hands that have pinched in fingers, allowing them to hold items in their collection without additional plastic grips or handles.

Legs and Feet

The legs are attached to the torso the same way as the arms. The toes are defined with small nails and the soles of the feet are flat.

Pre-Mattel vs. Mattel

The bodies were slimmed down overall in the Mattel era in the bodies, arms, and legs. The clothing was redesigned to fit the newer doll body shape. This means that newer outfits may fit tighter on older dolls.

  1. Facebook statement, accessed February 10, 2017.
  2. Facebook statement, accessed May 22, 2017.
  3. Julie is not returned with the purple panties that come in her second meet outfit.

Is your American Girl doll worth thousands? Here’s how you can check

Remember the ’80s Cabbage Patch Kids craze? And the ’90s when car dashboards spilled over with Beanie Babies?

Some people never let a kid touch those novelties and cast an eye to the future, hoping these “it” toys would rain astronomical amounts of money someday.

That’s precisely what made them worthless, said Josh Levine, a collectibles expert and owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Kiss of death,” Levine told All the Moms. “Of all the dolls that were worth $300 to $400 new at the time — they’re worth $20 today.”

You know which doll breaks the collectible-gone-wrong mold? Barbie, because, well, she’s the reigning monarch of doll collectibles.

If Barbie is queen, American Girl dolls are the princesses.

“Dolls are usually a loser’s game,” Levine said. “But I was pleasantly surprised. There is a decent market for American Girl dolls every day of the week.”

There is a set of American Girl dolls, including Samantha, Molly and Addy with multiple outfits and furniture, for sale on eBay right now for $11,500. The dolls, originals made by the Pleasant Company before it was sold in 1998 to Barbie-makers Mattel, are extremely valuable to collectors.

MORE: Your favorite American Girl doll comes to life in a Broadway-style musical tour

Big money in the little dolls

American Girl dolls and accessories that have sold on eBay in the last three months include:

  • $5,400: A signed collection of three of the original, pre-Mattel American Dolls in boxes with paperwork.
  • $4,500: American Girl doll Grace Bakery that was set with a bonus Grace bakery outfit.
  • $3,200: 8 American Girl dolls, including Lindsey released in 2001 and the Dolls of the Year from 2005-2010. All are new and never removed from the box.
  • $1,495: Kanani, 2011 Doll of the Year, never removed from her box, plus clothing and more accessories.
  • $1,450: American Girl Samantha doll in original box and signed by American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland.
  • $1,150: A signed American Girl Felicity doll still in the box.

An idea with heart

View this post on Instagram

While organizing some old files I found a ton of AG stuff that I thought I’d share. I have lots of vintage catalogs, magazines, books, and of course dolls from the late 80s and 90s that I’ll be sharing. I’ll post credit when I know the original source, but if I don’t please feel free to tell me and I’ll give credit ASAP ❤️

A post shared by American Girl History (@verypleasantcompany) on Aug 22, 2018 at 10:39am PDT

American Girl was first marketed in 1986 by the Pleasant Company in Middleton, Wisconsin. Former teacher Pleasant Rowland created the 18-inch dolls and gave them backstories of young girls living during important times in American history. Each doll came with her own historically appropriate book and clothes. Rowland’s idea was that “girls could play out the stories.”

The doll’s had personality, culture, challenges and heart.

The first three dolls released in 1986 are among the most valuable to collectors.

  • Kirsten Larson, a Minnesota pioneer who grew up in 1854. She was retired in 2010.
  • Samantha Parkington, a Victorian orphan who lived in 1904. She was retired in 2009, but re-released in 2014.
  • Molly McIntire, a patriotic child who grew up during WWII. She was retired in 2013, but re-released this year.

The 11 original Pleasant Company historical character dolls, especially if they’ve been retired like Felicity, can fetch hundreds if not thousands, on eBay.

A growing, diverse collection

Now the company sells more than four dozen versions of the dolls, including a limited-edition “Girl of the Year.”

In 1995, the company introduced what would become the My American Girl line with customizeable dolls that allow girls to select skin, hair and eye colors so the doll can look just like they do.

The first American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998. Now there are 20 across the country and international locations in Canada and the United Arab Emirates, according to the company’s website.

American Girl introduced its first African-American doll in 1993 with Addy Walker. Since then, it has further diversified its collection. The first Native American doll was released in 2002. The first boy doll, Korean-American and doll of Hawaiian descent were introduced in 2017.

What makes an American Girl doll worth a lot of money?

If you loved your American Girl doll soooooo much, she went everywhere with you – from parks to family parties – and you styled her hair like yours and applied make up, that’s precious. But it’s not going to fetch you much cash.

Most of the dolls and accessories that sell for triple figures and more are in unopened boxes or are gently used. Other things to note about items that sell well:

  • The hair has not been cut.
  • The face is unmarked.
  • The eyes are intact.
  • The doll still has the original, clean clothing.
  • The doll comes in the original box.
  • The doll has been retired.
  • Paperwork is available that includes receipts and information cards.

In addition to being among the original dolls released by the Pleasant Company, limited-edition dolls, like Hawaiian doll Kanani, that are on the market for only a year, also are valuable.

‘They’re not just dolls’

Levine does a lot of business in auctioning jewelry and guns, many that have tantalizing stories connected to the owners. Those stories always up the ante.

When he first walked by an American Girl store in Scottsdale, he didn’t understand the draw of parents and children packed inside until his wife explained it to him.

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Who’s that girl? See all historic American Girl dolls


American Girl launches its new historical BeForever doll, Melody Ellison, Saturday at a pair of events in Detroit.

The doll and her series of paperback books and accessories joins a long line of historical characters the company has launched in the last 30 years.

► Related: 5 things to know about Detroit’s American Girl doll

► Related: Motown, Detroit set scene for Melody Ellison’s story

► Related: American Girl store now open in metro Detroit

If you’re wondering how Melody fits in with the rest of company’s BeForever line, here’s a chronological look at the dolls and stories that make up American Girl’s historical offerings:


Year: 1764

Story: An adventurous Nez Perce girl from the Pacific Northwest, Kaya, as she is more commonly known, dreams of being a leader for her people one day. Her story centers on native American traditions, including the way lessons in her tribe were passed through storytelling from elders to children.

Availability: Kaya is still available for purchase.


Year: 1774

Story: In 1774, Felicity Merriman and her family are patriots in Williamsburg, Va., as unrest builds in the colonies and sparks the Revolutionary War. But Felicity’s best friend, Elizabeth Cole, is a loyalist. Felicity must find a way to manage their differences and learns what freedom really means.

Availability: Both dolls were archived in 2011 and are no longer sold.


Year: 1812

Story: As the War of 1812 begins, Caroline Abbott’s family is living in Sackets Harbor, a village on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York. Her father is a shipbuilder, and the British have taken him prisoner. Caroline finds the courage to help, passing him a secret message that might help him escape. She learns to use her mind as well as her heart to make better choices.

Availability: Caroline was archived in 2015 and is no longer for sale.


Year: 1824

Story: A quiet girl from New Mexico in 1824, Josefina Montoya lives on a rancho with her father and sisters. She leans on tradition and custom to cope with the grief of losing her mother. Along the way, she helps others heal, too.

Availability: Josefina is still available for purchase.


Year: 1853

Story: Cécile Rey, the daughter of a wealthy and free couple of color, befriends Marie-Grace Gardner, a young, white girl whose family had just moved to New Orleans in 1853. As yellow fever spreads through the city, the girls volunteer together at an orphanage and learn that helping others brings out qualities they share — kind hearts and adventurous spirits.

Availability: Both dolls were archived in 2014 and are unavailable for purchase.


Year: 1854

Story: Kirsten Larson is a pioneer girl who learns to embrace a new culture as her family, which is from Sweden, settles in Minnesota. In time, Kirsten learns the true meaning of home, and that love is the same in English, Swedish or any language.

Availability: Kirsten was archived in 2010 and is no longer sold.


Year: 1863

Story: The Civil War is under way, and Addy Walker’s family lives on a North Carolina plantation, where they are slaves. As the family plans an escape to freedom, her father and brother are shackled and sold to another family. Addy and her mother muster their courage and run, leaving behind her baby sister and other relatives as they make their way north on the Underground Railroad to Philadelphia. All the while, Addy never gives up hope that she’ll be reunited with the rest of the family.

Availability: Addy is still available for purchase.


Year: 1904

Story: An orphan being raised in New York City by her wealthy grandmother, Samantha Parkington is always trying to behave properly and please her grandmother. She befriends a servant girl who works next door, Nellie O’Malley, and the two teach one another about life, friendship and helping others.

Availability: Samantha and Nellie were initially archived in 2009, but Samantha was re-released in 2014, when American Girl rebranded its historical dolls under the BeForever name.


Year: 1914

Story: Growing up in a family of poor Russian-Jewish immigrants living in a tenement building on the Lower East Side of New York City, Rebecca Rubin feels the pressure many families new to America face as tradition and assimilation clash. She dreams of one day starring in movies, and uses sidewalk performances to earn money so her family can bring other relatives to America. But that upsets the family, which is concerned about proper behavior for a young girl.

Availabilty: Rebecca is still available for purchase.


Year: 1934

Story: Kitt Kittredege is a clever girl from Cincinnati, Ohio, who tries to find ways to help her family as the Great Depression strips away their financial stability. Kitt’s dad loses his job, and the family turns their home into a boarding house to make extra money. Kit tells stories and takes pictures for a little newspaper she produces for her dad, and goes on adventures with her friend, Ruthie Smithens.

Availability: Kit is still available, but the Ruthie was archived in 2014 and is no longer sold.


Year: 1944

Story: Molly McIntire is living in Jefferson, Ill., in 1944. Her father, a doctor, has gone to Europe to tend to wounded soldiers during World War II, and her mother becomes a Red Cross volunteer. She faces the hardships many American families experienced at that time — food shortages and lack of materials to make Halloween costumes. While she awaits her father’s return, with her friend Emily Bennett’s help, Molly learns to improvise and work together for the common good.

Availability: Both Molly and Emily were archived in 2014.


Year: 1954

Story: Maryellen Larkin is the middle-child among six siblings living in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1954. A polio survivor, Maryellen finds her way through Cold War fears and prejudices with the support of a new friend. She overcomes pressure to conform and learns the value of individuality.

Availability: Maryellen is still available for purchase.


Year: 1964

Story: As the civil rights movement gains steam in the mid-1960s, Melody Ellison is growing up in a close-knit family in Detroit’s burgeoning African-American community. She loves to sing, and is heavily influenced by Motown Records and its artists. With the support of her family, she learns to lift her voice for equality.

Availability: Melody goes on sale Saturday at the Charles H. Wright Museum and the Twelve Oaks Mall pop-up store. It’s available online and around the country starting Aug. 25.


Year: 1974

Story: While coping with her parents’ divorce, Julie Albright discovers a love of basketball, but learns there are no teams for girls at her school. She starts a petition to let girls play, too, and discovers that creating positive change takes courage and determination.

Availability: Julie is still available for purchase. Ivy was archived in 2014 and is no longer sold.

Contact Kristen Jordan Shamus: 313-222-5997 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.