The Importance of Teaching Our Girls about History and American Girl Giveaway

Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor

How important do you think it really is to teach your kids about the history? Do you actively teach your children about their past, the past of the world so they can live accordingly or do you place your focus on the future? Eyes on the prize and all that.

I had a secondary focus on History in university so I learned early on that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. It’s the first thing they teach you and it’s true. It’s like my tween trying to school me on how cool “The Smiths” are. Girl, I was there in the beginning. I know how cool they are. You are only cool enough to understand how cool they are because I made you so.

I make sure that my children know what the world was like before they came into it because if you don’t know the struggle, it’s hard to appreciate that it no longer exists or how far we’ve come to get where we are. Otherwise, we all become complacent and stop growing in any meaningful way. In this way, I think it’s my responsibility to teach my girls.

Not all kids love history unless it is relatable to them in some way. When you are a kid, you are the center of the universe and seeing it any other way is almost impossible. This is one of the reasons I love the BeForever series at American Girl. It has helped me make history palatable for girls no matter the age.

For example, American Girl’s newest BeForever character, Nanea Mitchell, a Hawaiian girl growing up on the island of Oahu in 1941 helps me to explain WWII to my girls.

Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor

Nanea’s story explores what life was like for islanders in the weeks leading up to and the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the U.S.’s entry into World War Two. In bringing this significant period in history to life for girls today, Nanea’s story illuminates how the courage, patriotism, and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people inspired a nation at war and shows how one girl can make a meaningful difference in the face of big change.

“The BeForever line is about building a bridge of understanding, helping girls today see the interconnectedness—the feelings, experiences, hopes, and dreams—that exists between themselves and girls from long ago,” says Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

The hope is that Nanea’s powerful story of resilience, responsibility to others, and contributing for the common good—or kokua, as it’s known in Hawaii—will resonate with girls and show them they have the power within to face the obstacles that come their way.

Written by Newbery Honor Award-winning author Kirby Larson, the Nanea series introduces readers to 9-year- old Nanea Mitchell. Nanea loves her close-knit extended family, dancing the hula, fishing with her father, and playing with her dog, Mele. Nanea is also eager to “dip her paddle in” to be useful at home and at her grandparents’ store.

When Pearl Harbor—the naval base where her father works—is attacked by Japan, the peaceful existence the Mitchells and their neighbors enjoy is replaced with martial law, and rumors of additional attacks and frequent air-raid drills have everyone on edge.

Amid the chaos and uncertainty, Nanea embraces her spirit of aloha and deeply held belief in kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—to do her part for the war effort and help restore peace to her beloved Hawaiian home.

Nanea Mitchell, American Girl, WWII, Pearl Harbor


In addition to the stories, the Nanea collection features a beautiful 18-inch doll featuring an all-new face mold, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair, plus several 1940s-era, Hawaiian-inspired doll outfits and Nanea-inspired apparel for girls. Numerous authentic-to- the-era accessories round out the play experience, including Nanea’s Hula Outfit and Hula Implements and Nanea’s Family Market, with 90 pieces, including a wooden store with a movable counter, food, supplies, displays, and more.

To help ensure the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity of Nanea’s story and products, American Girl worked closely with a five-member advisory board who provided their expertise in Hawaiian culture, language, and history to inform all aspects of Nanea’s development—including the doll, books, outfits, and accessories.

To support Nanea’s inspiring message, from August 21 until the end of 2017, American Girl will be collecting donations for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) program to help provide comfort and care to the members of the military, veterans, and their families.

American Girl will match every dollar donation made at or at any American Girl store in the U.S. up to a maximum total donation of $75,000. American Girl is also giving $575,000 worth of its signature 18-inch dolls to the American Red Cross to provide a bit of cheer to children in times of crisis.

Through the generosity of American Girl Dolls, I am giving away a Nanea Mitchell doll to one lucky reader to give to the little girl in her life, just in time for the holidays too!

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Comments (52)

My favorite American Girl doll has got to be Addy. I remember pouring over the catalog with my older sister and circling everything in her collection. I’ve read the books in her series many times. I’d read the books and follow my mother around telling her every detail. So many great memories!

We;ll, I am not good at the names but my niece has one that has blonde hair and a few freckles and my daughter loves that doll

I love Samantha! She reminds me so much of my daughter!

My favorite American Girl doll is Tenney because her character can be perceived that she has a talent for music.

I love Lea Clark. Her love for the rainforest, animals, and photography and her looks, reminds me so much of my niece.

Samantha is my favorite just because it’s the only books in the series that I read as a child

I don’t really have a favorite. I think they are all great!

I love Samantha because she’s the one I got as a girl.

I like Kaya because my granddaughter is half American Indian and she’d like this!

Linda Trinklein

Its hard to pick 1 favorite, they all are beautiful and have their own unique stories. My daughters first one was Kit, so right now I think that is her favorite one. Thanks for the chance to win!

I like Samantha because she is a classic.

Rebecca Rubin is my favorite because I like the time period she grew up in (early 1900’s) and I think she is pretty.

My favorite is Felicity. I had her in the 90’s and I loved her book!

My favorite doll is Julie

My favorite one is Maryellen Larkin because I like her outfit and hairstyle

I love the molly doll — It was mine and I have been able to share it with my daughter

Christine Weary

Samantha cause she reminds me of my granddaughter.

We don’t have any American Dolls yet so no favorite!

Samantha is my favorite, she is classic and I love that.

My favorite is Molly because of her story in WWII. My daughter would love Nanea!

shelly peterson

I like Maryellen. I love her outfit and color of hair but I really like Nanea too.

My favorite is Julie. It’s my daughters favorite too! 🙂

Samantha was my first doll so she is my favorite!

My daughter and I love Maryellen Larkin. She’s dressed in an adorable 50s outfit and has the prettiest auburn hair.

My faavorite American Girl Doll is MaryEllen! She depicts a fun and unique era and is super adorable!

My favorite American girl doll is Gabriela McBride. I love her curly hair and that she’s artistic.

I like Julie because she looks like my friend’s daughter.

I love Felicity because I’ve always been interested with that time period. Unfortunately my daughter isn’t interested in dolls but her cousin would love for me to win! 😉

I’ve always loved Felicity! She has awesome clothes and a great story.

I love Samantha because that is our granddaughter’s name. She is 4 years old and the sweetest little girl.

My favorite is Samantha — she is the first AG Doll I bought for my granddaughter. Lots of good memories sewing her outfits and watching my granddaughter playing with her. Would love to add Nanea to our family.

I think my Granddaughter would like the Tenney Doll.

So hard to choose just 1….if i have to then Lea Clark

My favorite is the itty baby dolls because my daughter is 2! She is obsessed with baby dolls!

I like Gabriela McBride because my daughter loves art just like her

My favorite is Molly because I love the era she’s from and she looks just like my daughter did when she was younger.

I always loved American Girl Doll Julie reminds me of my daughter.

I really enjoy reading your blog posts! And your fun instagram pics!
My favorite American girl doll is Maryellen, mostly because I love the era of her accessories, but we are very excited about Nanea, too, she is so unique and beautiful. Love American Girl, for bringing history to children in ways they can relate and engage in!

My favorite AG Doll is Josefina. I love her heritage and history. Her face looks so pretty. I also love her big hoop earrings.

My favorite is Nanea! She’s unique and I love her drawn eyes!

My favorite is Nanea! She’s unique and I love her drawn eyes!

My favorite American girl doll is Kit! She looks just like my 7 year old Emma! They could be twins! We even bought the beautiful outfit with the white tank and red ribbon w teal matching skirt for Emma to match kit! I also love Carolyn she was my oldest daughters 1st American Girl Doll. Her books are so fun to read about all her adventures. Oh and we love Lea! Kids know a lot about Brazil now and they watch the movies all the time about all the American girls! Love AG!

My daughter as a person of color identifies with Garbriela because she looks similar to her and she enjoys the accessories.

I don’t have a favorite, they all are amazing and have great stories

Samantha Martin

Of course this answer may be taken up there but my name is Samantha and i look a lot like the Samantha doll. In fact I actually got one for christmas years ago. it burned up the next year in a house fire. I miss her 🙁
Samantha Parkington was her name 🙂 I was a tomboy and she was a tomboy loved to help friends and i do to!
Samantha Parkington
Today is my chance to help others
I’ve never met a tree I couldn’t climb, a rule I couldn’t ruffle,
or a friend I couldn’t help. I’m all heart and always ready to
lend a hand to somebody in need.

i love Samantha because thats my sister name

I like Samantha because my niece likes her

MY fav AG doll is Grace, cause she looks just like my little girl.

I love them all but I guess I’d pick Samantha because she reminds me of my sweetie.

i like maryellen because i love the era she is from.

I grew up with these dolls and I always loved Kit. Maybe it was because she was a writer. I also was really fascinated by her time period. Still am.

I love Maryellen Larkin and her adorable 50s outfit.

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