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Introducing American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela

Introducing American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela

I never had an American Girl doll as a little girl, but I love pouring over the catalogs that came in the mail. I also loved reading the books that I checked out from the library. My daughter is now 5, right around the age when many little girls become more interested in dolls. My toddler son also enjoys playing with his big sister’s dolls, and I encourage him to do so just as I encourage my daughter to play with trucks and other “boy” toys. When recently offered the chance to review Gabriela, the 2017 Girl of the Year from American Girl, in exchange for my honest opinion, I eagerly accepted the opportunity. I receive the Gabriela doll and book set, which currently costs $115.

American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela in Box

Meet Gabriela

Gabriela McBride is the 2017 Girl of the Year from American Girl. The 18-inch doll has warm brown eyes that open and close and curly dark-brown hair. She has a huggable cloth body and movable head and limbs made of smooth vinyl. She wears a cropped purple sweater with a silver “Dream” graphic and soft turquoise tank top, fitted pair of dark-blue jeggings, purple shoes with turquoise straps, and a pink double headband. (Her jeggings, by the way, look just like the jeggings that my kids wear, which I think is totally cute!) The doll comes with 10 hairbands and the first Gabriela paperback book. Gabriela is a true talent who gets creative for a cause.

Additional clothing and accessories are also available for Gabriela.

Evaluation

American Girl strives to depict dolls of diverse backgrounds and interests. Gabriela is the first African-American Girl of the Year, although she is not the first doll of color from the company. Gabriela follows Marisol, the Latina Girl of the Year from 2005, and two Japanese-American dolls (Jess McConnell and Kanani Akina) from 2006 and 2011. Described as a true creative talent who uses poetry to help break down barriers and overcome her personal challenge of stuttering, Gabriela offers an inspiring story and message for young doll fans. Gabriela is also a dancer, which makes me smile because of my childhood in gymnastics and dance. Unlike past Girl of the Year dolls, Gabriela will be available throughout 2017 and beyond.

Unboxing American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela with Book
In addition to being ridiculously excited for my first ever American Girl doll, I must also admit that I am excited for the chance to give the first African-American Girl of the Year to my daughter and son. I believe that involving children in the rainbow of the world is important. As my daughter and I talk about frequently, people come in all skin colors from light to dark. When my daughter first saw Gabriela, she was simply excited for her new doll and mentioned nothing about the color of her skin or hair. My daughter is white, but, to her at the moment, skin color is just skin color. Just as I have given my kids girl dolls and boy dolls, I also want to provide dolls that depict the diversity of the world, and Gabriela is a great addition to our toy box.

One of the things that I love about Gabriela is that she uses her creativity to improve herself. I have always been a creative person. As a child, I love to draw, paint, sculpt, write, and play music. When I went to college, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English studies with a minor in creative writing. Even my two master’s degrees — library science and English studies — have a component of creativity. Now as an adult and mother of two young children, I still express my creativity through my blog and by making many, many crafts with my kids. I love that Gabriela also loves poetry and uses her interest to overcome her own personal struggle.

In addition to the Gabriela doll and books, American Girl is partnering with Scholastic to create and distribute Express Yourself, a program for classrooms that empowers students to use the arts as a tool for self-expression. Available in March 2017, the classroom resources provide teachers with tools to encourage students to find their creative voices. The program will feature a poetry contest for kids to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. As a homeschooling mom and a writer of poetry, I love that American Girl is using the 2017 Girl of the Year as an educational opportunity for classrooms and beyond.

Top of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela Bottom of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela

Middle of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela Book of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela

Final Verdict

As a character who uses her passion for the arts to overcome personal obstacles and create positive change for her community, Gabriela is an inspirational doll with an inspiring story for any American Girl fan. She is also the first African-American Girl of the Year. I love that Gabriela uses her creativity to solve problems and improve herself. The doll and book set currently cost $115. Unlike past Girl of the Year dolls, Gabriela will be available throughout 2017 and beyond. You can also buy all sorts of accessories for her including adorably sparkly tap shoes. I am super impressed with Gabriela and am honored to have the chance to share her with my children.

Purchase Gabriela and her accessories on the American Girl website.

Image Credits

Introducing American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson
American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela in Box © 2017 Heather Johnson
Unboxing American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson
American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela with Book © 2017 Heather Johnson
Top of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson
Bottom of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson
Middle of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson
Book of American Girl 2017 Girl of the Year Gabriela © 2017 Heather Johnson

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