article by Constance Gibbs via nydailynews.com
Dollmaker American Girl named its “Girl of the Year” Friday, revealing a new African-American doll named Gabriela McBride. She’s the first Girl of the Year doll since 2011 who wasn’t white. American Girl, a Mattel-owned company, sells the popular — but expensive, at $115 a pop — 18-inch dolls that aim to teach young girls about different historical eras and perspectives. The dolls also come with books, outfits, and accessories to personalize each one.
American Girl dolls have always been hot sellers, but there has been resurgence in popularity in the last few years. Mattel said in October that American Girl sales were up 15% in the last year. Gabriela McBride, the company’s newest addition to its “Girl of the Year” line — dolls that are sold just for one year — has a back story in which she dances, teaches children about poetry, and wants to save her community center.
“The goal has always been to be able to create mirrors and windows for girls to see either a direct reflection of themselves or a window into a life or a culture that may be different from their own,” Stephanie Spanos, an American Girl spokesperson told The Daily News. Gabriela follows previous diverse “Girls of the Year” Marisol, a Latina girl (2005), and two Japanese-American dolls from 2006 and 2011.
It’s also the first time three black dolls — Gabriela, Melody, the Civil Rights era doll introduced this year, and Addy, a former slave — are on the market at the same time.
“Overall, we’re just really proud to feature a diverse and inclusive set of dolls,” Spanos told the News.
Other permanent dolls of color include native Nez Perce girl Kaya and Mexican Josefina. An African-American and a Chinese-American doll were both archived in 2014.
To read full article, go to: American Girl diversifies with new African-American doll – NY Daily News