Melody Ellison: American Girl’s Important New Civil Rights Doll + Giveaway

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If you’re a fan of American Girl, you most likely heard about the recent debut of their new historical doll, Melody Ellison.  We’re beyond excited to share about Melody, an African American nine-year-old fictional character, living in Detroit in the mid-1960s – as well as the importance she carries for young girls everywhere.

The doll is beyond adorable and so is her 1960’s clothing and accessories – but most importantly, Melody’s story and accompanying BeForever book: No Ordinary Sound: A Melody Classic, helps young readers to contextualize issues of racism, perseverance, justice, optimism and equality during the civil rights movement – and in ways that apply to the present day.  Melody’s compelling story shares all about her penchant for singing and Motown music; inspiration gleaned from Martin Luther King, Jr., and the courage it takes to lift her voice to make a difference.

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“A message that I hope readers take away from Melody’s story is to think about themselves in terms of their community and what they can do to help- to change- their community. There’s always something that we can do to help change our world for the better.  I hope Melody’s books inspire conversations between young people and adults who have been part of the civil rights movement.” – Denis Lewis Patrick, Author of the Melody series

As a parent, I appreciate that I can depend on American Girl to approach crucial topics with cultural and historical accuracy.  Melody’s story is the product of over two years of work in which American Girl implemented an esteemed six-member advisory board including the late Horace Julian Bond, a leader in the civil rights movement.

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Melody Ellison is an incredible addition to American Girl’s BeForever collection encouraging girls to lift their voices in support of positive social change.

Cheers to American Girl for this doll! She’s important, and our favorite.

Win It! American Girl is generously giving away one Melody Ellison doll and book to a lucky MB reader. If you’re U.S. based, enter via the widget below. Best of luck and thank you for visiting.
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American Girl Wellie Wishers (+Giveaway)

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Introducing the WellieWishers!  American Girl’s new line of adorable dolls geared for the 5 to 7 set.

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Ashlyn // Camille // Willa // Kendall // Emerson

Yesterday morning, I hightailed it to 5th Avenue, bright and early before NYC flagship-store opening to meet with the American Girl team, Momtrends, and iconic American Girl author Valerie Tripp to have a first look at the collection.

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The WellieWishers dolls and corresponding book collection carry teachable messages that are synonymous with the American Girl brand.  As described by Author Valerie Tripp, this group of five friends celebrates stories of compassion, empathy and hope – while helping young girls see themselves in the shoes (get it Wellies!) of others.  The WellieWishes are designed to be messy, curious, jolly and imaginative, in relatable and realistic ways.  With messages of perseverance and tolerance, these fun and silly girls model what it means to be a good friend.

American-Girl-Author-Valerie-TrippIconic American Girl Author, Valerie Tripp

At $60 per doll the 14.5 inch WellieWishers dolls come at a lower price than the 18 inch American Girl dolls.  Super sweet – with a toy, clothing and accessory line, we adore the fun collection of Wellies and printed socks for girls, their relatable and authentic message, and of course the new doll options available to American Girl fans.

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Win It!  One Marino Bambinos reader will win a WellieWishers doll of choice (Ashlyn, Camille, Willa, Kendall or Emerson)To enter, visit the giveaway widget below. U.S. only and best of luck!

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Special thanks to Momtrends for having us at the #mtwelliewishers event! Sample provided.  

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American Girl’s Lea Clark: 2016 Girl Of The Year (+ Giveaway!)

American Girl Doll Giveaway Lea Clark

Introducing, Lea Clark – American Girl’s 2016 Girl of the Year!  Lea is an adventurer, traveler, and dedicated animal lover. At 10-years old, she’s also a talented photographer who discovers a wold of possibilities when she embarks on a journey to Brazil.

Our tween toy-tester marveled over the doll’s Brazilian festival style, and voraciously dug into her accompanying book, Lea Dives In, by Lisa Yee.

American Girl Doll Giveaway Lea Clark Doll Of the Year 2016

As a mother of an 8-year-old, I appreciate American Girl for the wholesome doll experience, the engaging literature and endless hours of open-ended play. And I adore how through the story of Lea, American Girl strives to ignite an interest in animal-welfare among girls – in conjunction with their year-long campaign supporting The World Wildlife Fund. Via the Wild At Art Campaign, American Girl has donated $50,000 and will continue to contribute $1 for every plush animal purchase from Lea’s exclusive collection (for a maximum of $100,00).  The Wild At Art campaign encourages girls to join in the social good movement by using their artistic abilities to host an art sale benefiting the fund.  Direct donations are also available for purchase in Lea’s collection on the American Girl website.

Doll of The Year 2106 American Girl Giveaway Lea Clark

In addition to the first book in Lea’s series, the doll comes with a compass necklace to keep her anchored in her adventures, along with a detailed and functional messenger bag. Additional accessories, including a set that contains Lea’s camera and passport are fun purchases to add to Lea’s collection.

Photographer Lea Clark American Girl Doll

Win It!  We’re so excited to partner with American Girl again to giveaway a Lea Clark doll to one lucky winner! Enter to win via the Rafflecopter below – (U.S. only please) and make sure to check back to see if your name pops up as the winner.  Best of luck and view all of our American Girl stories here.

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Helpful Books For Tween Girls and Mothers | The Care & Keeping Of Us With American Girl

Just the other day, my third-grader came home asking to talk about something privately.  It was the first lock-down drill of the school-year, and I quickly prepared myself (as well as a concerned mother possibly can) to be completely present in whatever my daughter needed to discuss behind her closed door.  The topic was much lighter than expected, but in that moment I was well aware of the fact that the ways in which I listen and respond to my children now, matter so very much. I always want my kids to be able to come to me.

I’ve been quickly trying to prepare myself with tools and tips to talk to my children about topics and life lessons that are on the horizon.  As helpful things come my way, I’m beginning to share them here  – but I’m well aware that I have so much more to prepare.

Hopes For International Day of the Girl

That’s why I’m grateful to have been invited to an intimate brunch with Momtrends, at the American Girl store to chat with pediatrician and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Cara Natterson about her new three-book set, The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms.

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I’ve since had time to look through the collection (one book for moms, and one for tweens) which provides helpful tools to talk collectively about pressing topics for growing girls.  The book-set covers everything from puberty, body basics, social media, friendship, age-appropriate hygiene and so much more.  Solid tips and conversation starters are included, and even scripts for moms (thank you!) on how to talk to adolescent and tween girls about navigating various issues while growing up.  I love how the books emphasize closeness and trust while providing tools to communicate, including a sharing journal with prompts to keep the mother-daughter conversation open.

I’m so impressed with Dr. Natterson’s knowledge, down to earth nature, and new book collection.  We haven’t come across anything this helpful that covers such important topics for girls ages eight and up. I appreciate that the discussion will begin with the help of American Girl, a brand that my daughter and her friends know and trust.

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We recommend ordering the book set early to pull out when the time comes!

Special thanks to Momtrends and American Girl for having us. Product provided but opinions as always are my own.

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Meet the New American Girl Doll: Maryellen Larkin + Giveaway

Introducing Maryellen Larkin! The latest doll from American Girl and the newest BeForever historical character from the 1950s.

American Girl Doll Giveaway

With a soon to be third-grader at home, we’re currently living in an American Girl Doll obsession.  My daughter loves Maryellen’s 50s era-appropriate outfits, including the poodle skirt.  And as a parent, I appreciate the books, penned by Valerie Tripp, that explore the post-war world of the 50s.

As an energetic and optimistic girl who follows her heart instead of the crowd, Maryellen is a great role model for little girls.  Depicting an era that gave rise to tremendous growth and change in America, Maryellen’s products and stories have an intergenerational appeal that is sure to be a hit with girls, moms, and grandmas.

Maryellen Larkin American Girl Doll Giveaway American Girl Doll Giveaway Between August 27-30, The American Girl Store here in NYC is celebrating Maryellen’s debut by inviting fans to meet her in store and discover the fabulous 50s!  Receive a free gift and have the opportunity to participate in fun activities including:

  • Free ‘50s-Themed Craft Activity: Fun fashion craft from Maryellen’s era.
  • Maryellen Photo Opportunity: Capture a memory of your visit by getting a retro photo taken at the store with a 1950s diner backdrop.

Win It: We’re thrilled to partner with American Girl to giveaway a Maryellen Doll to one lucky Marino Bambinos’ reader!  To enter, visit the rafflecopter below.  US only please, and entries are verified.  Best of luck.

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On Dolls and Friendship | American Girl Truly Me

My little big girl was around four-years-old when we first walked past the American Girl store in New York City.  Her small hands pressed against the glass, transfixed with the 18-inch dolls in the window.  We didn’t go inside the store that day but ventured back on her sixth birthday.  Completely smitten, she insisted we weave through the tourist-packed streets to show her new look-alike doll, coined Aveniana, the extravagant holiday window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue.

On the heels of the last days of second-grade, we hopped the train back to American Girl’s New York store in celebration of their Truly Me collection.  The outing was elevated with an invitation to bring along a special friend.

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Dolls were soon selected, and elaborate stories concocted as the girls ogled over karate costumes and pets, and names for their Truly Me dolls.

american girl truly me dolls

These sweet friends were lucky enough to share in American Girl’s personal shopping experience, with the assistance of Miss Nakiah –  the ultimate conduit of seven-year-old excitement.  She lead the girls throughout the multiple floors, contextualizing the historical and fictional stories of the dolls – and the representation offered for all girl’s through the Truly Me collection.  Past miniature glasses, and wheelchairs – accessories, and costumes – excitement reflected in every glass casing.

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The experience was highlighted with a trip to the interactive Truly Me Signature Studio to design one-of-a-kind backpacks and doll outfits  – all printed on premises!

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The dolls even had the chance to get party ready at the doll salon.  Adorned with ear-piercing and hand-picked hairstyles, much to their new owner’s delight.

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The final celebration took place in the private dining room – where the dolls joined the table in special seating.

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And childhood-excitement imploded all over Fifth Avenue.

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As girls with sophisticated imaginations celebrated their friendship and a truly special day.

Special thanks to American Girl for sponsoring this shopping and dining experience via The Little Style File.  Opinions, as always, are my own.

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