35 Lessons I Learned from American Girl in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary Collection

35 Lessons I Learned from American Girl in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary Collection

This week, American Girl celebrates its 35th birthday with the debut of its 35th anniversary collection. With the reintroduction of its original historical characters, you can now buy Samantha Parkington, Kirsten Larson, Molly McIntire, Felicity Merriman, Addy Walker, and Josefina Montoya. When I visited the website to see their new items, my heart leapt in memory of my childhood Kirsten doll. For hours as a child, I would escape into a make-believe world, developing storylines and diving into her chapter books. Now, as I have the opportunity to share these characters with my own children, I am sharing 35 lessons I learned from American Girl in my own 35 years of living.

35 Lessons I Learned from American Girl in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary Collection
Photograph I took of mine and my sister’s collection of dolls

35 Lessons I Learned from American Girl in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary Collection

  1. Reading empowers you.
  2. Writing is also empowering. Similar to how each doll tells their story through their chapter books, you should tell your story too. Think of the impact each doll’s story has on the children who read them. You can have that impact on the world. You have to use your voice.
  3. History does matter. Pay attention to the past because you never know if something similar will happen again in the future.
  4. Girls can make a difference in the world.
  5. Even with different experiences, we are not that different after all. Each doll shares a snapshot of a moment in time from a different perspective, but they have many characteristics in common. The same is true for people too.
  6. Learn about different times and cultures. Respecting others who are different from you will help you find the respect you desire too.
  7. Friendship matters, and it can help you get through anything.
  8. Since everyone experiences hardships, you are not alone in any experience, even when you feel isolated.
  9. Enduring difficult things will help you become stronger.
  10. Being kind matters.
  11. Knowledge is valuable.
  12. Speaking up can make the world a better place.
  13. Be yourself.
  14. Have courage.

    35 Lessons I Learned from American Girl in Celebration of the 35th Anniversary Collection
    Although Kirsten was my first doll, I always had a special place in my heart for Samantha’s story too.
  15. Stay strong.
  16. Go for your dreams.
  17. Friendships can happen in the most unexpected places.
  18. Tell the truth.
  19. Be humble.
  20. Stand by your friends.
  21. Know when to do what is expected of you, and when to veer from those expectations.
  22. When given the chance to sit quietly or take an adventure, go on the adventure.
  23. Let kids be kids. Throughout even the most difficult times in history, there were kids who did regular kid things like play games and have an imagination.
  24. Family matters. You may not always understand them, and they might not always understand you, but they can be the biggest support when you need them.
  25. Be there for others. In your heart, truly want what is best for them.
  26. Get to know all kinds of people.
  27. Living in different times and different conditions don’t change the goodness and kindness inside us all.
  28. Follow your heart every day, even when it tells you to do things that no one has done before.

    Me, dressed up in a pioneer outfit inspired by my doll Kirsten for a school play in 4th grade
  29. Sometimes it can feel like no one else understands. They might not. When explaining doesn’t change their mind, show them.
  30. Being ambitious can give you a better sense of purpose.
  31. Progress is not always good. Helping all people matters more than helping only a few.
  32. Trust your gut. Don’t listen to your fears about not being old enough, big enough, or educated enough to be correct. Your intuition is a powerful thing.
  33. Each doll’s story is an inspiration. People can inspire you that way too.
  34. Knowing that someone trusts you enough to care for such a valuable doll is a big deal. Make the most of it. Read all the books, and do all the fun activities to tell stories with your dolls. When you discover how amazing storytelling is, you’ll never stop wanting to tell stories.
  35. Dolls can be like your best friend. You don’t have to give them away or stop treating them with care when you feel too old. Just like how real friendships sometimes wane and fade but can be re-ignited later, you never know when you will want to see your childhood best friend again.
Kirsten Larson is one of six 35th anniversary collection dolls that are now available in packaging inspired by the original collection
Kirsten Larson is one of six 35th anniversary collection dolls that are now available in packaging inspired by the original collection

Each of the six original characters comes in its own special 35th Anniversary Collection, featuring a signature 18-inch doll dressed in her original outfit and authentic accessories, and the character’s first paperback book in the series with a vintage cover. In further tribute to the brand’s roots, each set comes packaged in a retro-inspired American Girl doll box designed for both new and existing collectors.

Books for the 35th anniversary dolls will look like the original version of the books
Books for the 35th anniversary dolls will look like the original version of the books

“For 35 years, American Girl has created powerful stories with smart, courageous heroines that have helped shape an entire generation of women,” said Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl. “As we celebrate this major milestone, we’re thrilled to recognize the very first generation of American girls who grew up with these beloved, original characters and made them the phenomenon they are today. Knowing many of these women are now moms themselves, we look forward to creating special, multi-generational experiences for families via their shared love of the brand. We can’t wait to inspire and empower this next generation with even more relevant products, immersive experiences, and timeless stories.”

American Girl has also introduced a new book, 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl'
American Girl has also introduced a new book, ‘Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl.’

American Girl fans can also celebrate the brand’s 35th birthday with the following new content and experiences:

New Content & Experiences

Available now, ‘Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl,’ is a new inspirational book with full-color illustrations that celebrates the heartfelt and humorous advice shared by fan-favorite characters.

For girls who love music, there’s the all-new digital album, American Girl Get Up and Dance, in partnership with Warner Music Group. The album includes ten American Girl character-inspired songs that are, for the first-time, available to download, including a new release—Happy Birthday, American Girl—that will have girls singing and toe-tapping along.

On May 8th, fans are invited to join American Girl and Magnolia Bakery for a virtual 35th Birthday Bash, including a cupcake decorating party with Bobbie Lloyd, Chief Baking Officer of Magnolia Bakery. The Facebook Live event will also feature appearances with influencers Rachel Pitzel, Ava and Leah Clements, and Zooey Miyoshi.

With its roots in children’s publishing, American Girl has long-championed the belief that strong readers become strong leaders. This summer, to further support children’s literacy and ensure access to quality materials to help kids grow as readers, American Girl is partnering with Save the Children’s U.S. Literacy program with a gift of more than $100,000 in American Girl books. This donation brings the brand’s total commitment to more than $9 million in books and funds to the organization.

American Girl has several other exciting events and partnerships lined up this summer and fall to further celebrate the brand’s rich legacy and reimagine its future. You can visit americangirl.com for more details about upcoming birthday-themed product releases, can’t-miss virtual events, and additional 35th anniversary activities happening throughout the year.

Kirsten Larson was officially retired in 2010, but is now available once more along with the other 5 original American Girl dolls.
Kirsten Larson was officially retired in 2010, but is now available once more along with the other 5 original American Girl dolls.

To celebrate the 35th anniversary, you can also join my American Girl Dance Party! This private virtual class provides a small group, fun experience for kids. Bring your dolls and get ready to move. Message me on Outschool with the code ENJOYINGFAMILYLIFE for $2 off.

You might also enjoy reading Tween Gift Idea: Completing Kira Bailey’s Set.

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