A few weeks ago I had a very ill pre-schooler on my hands. Madison wasn’t her best but luckily she had some very good doctors who made her all better. Having her at home when she’s not feeling well can be a bummer, because she’s whiney and clingy and everything you’d expect from a sick child. However, early one morning my doorbell rang and I’m going to be honest, if I’m not expecting you, I’m not going to answer my door. Later that afternoon on my way to the mailbox, I saw a package laying outside my door addressed to Madison. Now who could have sent Madison a package, because there was no scheduled UPS or FedEx shipment. On the inside of that box however was a beautiful note from her friends at American Girl, saying “Sending get well wishes and Melody to keep you company. – Your friends at American Girl”. How sweet and how exciting! Now this isn’t a sponsored post and I’m disclosing that right now. Melody wasn’t sent as a review item and there is no need for me to write about her, but I want to and I’m going to tell you why.
You might remember I mentioned way back in January, that American Girl was introducing Melody Ellison to their BeForever line-up. Here’s my post refresher on Melody. Now Madison owns quite a few American Girl dolls and started her collection before she was even a year old, by receiving her first Bitty Baby which is perfect for toddlers. Since then she’s gotten another Bitty Baby and last Christmas got her very first BeForever doll, Addy. We’ve also added two Wellie Wishers this year, which is by far her favorite line, but I digress. Let’s get back to Melody.
Being an African-American family, there are a few things that I’ve always taught my kids. 1. You can do anything you want to, legally of course, and 2. You can be anything, even the president of the United States of America, as long as you work hard towards it. Why? Because of the civil rights movement that allowed you to do so. Melody grew up in the 1960’s the era of the civil rights movement. The days when “negroes” weren’t allowed the privileges that they’re allowed now. Racial segregation was rampant and the inequality could be seen first hand. Maybe some of your parents know about it, depending on the year they were born and some of you reading might have even experienced it. My kids now grow up in a world where some of their best friends are caucasian. My kids don’t see color all because of the civil rights movement, and I’m happy to see that American Girl has introduced someone from that era. It’s a great way to teach Madison a bit about her history without getting too political.
Now here’s a bit about Melody Ellison. Melody is a 9 year old growing up in Detroit, Michigan during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, and like most African American family, she loved going to church and sing. If you’re African American, you can totally relate. I remember that every week I had to go to church with my mother, whether I liked it or not. Singing in church was something that we did and if you go to an African American church, you’d probably hear some of those very songs that were sung back in the days, maybe with a more livelier beat, but you’d hear them nonetheless. Melody loves to sing and blend her voice with others in harmony, and after seeing her sister face discrimination after applying for a job at a bank, that didn’t hire her because she was a “negro”, and after experiencing discrimination herself, Melody decides to add her voice to those speaking up about inequality.
What you can expect when you purchase the Melody doll is a beautiful 18-inch Melody doll which has dark brown eyes and black hair. Melody comes in a bright blue-and-green houndstooth dress, a blue ribbon headband, and shiny blue patent shoes. Also included is No Ordinary Sound, the first volume in Melody’s classic series, by Denise Lewis Patrick. Volume 2, Never Stop Singing is also currently available. With the struggle for equality and justice still prevalent today, Melody bridges the past and present for girls and shows them how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they come together to make a meaningful difference.
Madison and I have read the books quite a number of times and each time we read the books, I am in awe of what American Girl did with Melody. They not only set out to create another “black doll”, but they created a doll that was from an era that most of us can relate to. They had an advisory panel of knowledgeable experts, who made sure that her appearance, from her hair and skin color, clothing and accessories, were accurate and reflective of the 1960’s. Even her hometown of Detroit showcases one of the country’s most vibrant and thriving black communities of the era, with more independent black- owned businesses, like Motown Records, than any other location in the country, as well as home to one of the largest chapters of the NAACP. Detroit laid claim to significant local civil rights activities, such as the 1963 Walk to Freedom march, featuring the precursor of Dr. King’s now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The Detroit location also helps young readers understand that the struggle for civil rights was not just an issue in the South and that African Americans throughout the United States faced racial inequality and discrimination.
While I’ve loved everything American Girl had to offer in the past, I have to admit that Melody Ellison is my absolute favorite, and I have been recommending her to everyone I know. Way to go American Girl, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
American Girl has launched the Lift Your Voice with Melody campaign. You can watch the Lift Your Voice with Melody video and then share your own inspiring videos and photos on how you make a difference, using #LiftYourVoice.
Let’s discuss: What are your thoughts of the American Girl brand and Melody?
To learn more about Melody Ellison and American Girl visit:
To request an American Girl catalogue, call 1-800-845-0005.