Ever since I was nine years old I have been in love with the Historical Girls of American Girl. I would sit and read their books and dream about what it would have been like to live in their time and join them in their adventures.
Over the past year I have been able to share with you my love of American Girl and bring that same excitement to my own girls! I was very excited to be apart of the Parent Partners for Shine on Now and for Sarah to receive her very first My American Girl Doll. Last year we said goodbye to the loved Felicity (my favorite) and earlier this year we shared about Kanani 2011 Girl of the Year.
Now I get to share with you American Girl’s newest Historical Girls Cecile and Marie-Grace.
IT’S A FIRST! AMERICAN GIRL UNVEILS TWO HISTORICAL CHARACTERS SHARING ONE UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY THROUGH NEW ORLEANS IN 1853
Middleton, WI—August 8, 2011: For the first time in American Girl’s 25-year history, the company is introducing two different historical characters, Cécile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner, in one six-book series set in 1850s New Orleans. The new characters—one African American and one Caucasian—show the power of friendship and community as they reach across the boundaries of race and class to help their families, friends, and city during a time of great need. To celebrate Cécile and Marie-Grace’s debut and the rich musical tradition of New Orleans, American Girl has partnered with 13-year-old Kate Connick and her father, world-renowned musician and actor Harry Connick, Jr., to create an original song—“A Lot Like Me”—with all proceeds benefiting the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans.
“We’re proud to introduce Cécile and Marie-Grace to our historical line and excited to be partnering with Kate and Harry Connick, Jr.,” says Ellen L. Brothers, president of American Girl. “We know our fans will embrace the New Orleans characters and Kate’s song, as they express the values of friendship, bridging differences, and working together to help others.”
Taking inspiration from the Cécile and Marie-Grace stories, “A Lot Like Me”—performed by Kate and written and accompanied by her father—shows girls the importance of looking within to find the true meaning of friendship. Available exclusively on iTunes in August, all proceeds from song downloads will benefit after-school programming at the newly founded Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans. Located in the heart of Musicians’ Village in the Upper Ninth Ward, the center provides classrooms, rehearsal space, a recording studio, and a state-of-the-art performance hall. Most importantly, the center ensures that the New Orleans sound will live on and local children will continue to learn from music legends.
“ ‘A Lot Like Me’ is a really fun song with such a good message—just like the books about Cécile and Marie-Grace. It’s about knowing that it doesn’t matter what skin color you have or what religion you follow—what’s inside is what’s important,” said Kate Connick. “I have friends who have different backgrounds. They come from different places, so this means something to me. I’m just so happy that I get to be a part of it.”
Despite different backgrounds and life stories, Cécile (a bold, confident girl from a well-to-do African American family), and shy, caring Marie-Grace (who has just moved back to New Orleans with her father), form a unique bond through their shared love of music. Later, their growing friendship deepens as they work together to help their community during the yellow fever epidemic that sweeps through New Orleans in 1853. Each character is brought to life through a beautifully designed 18-inch doll, plus an array of historically accurate and culturally authentic clothes and accessories that reflect the girls’ heritage and time period.
Cécile’s stories are authored by Denise Lewis Patrick, and Marie-Grace’s books are written by Sarah Masters Buckey. The stories—starting with Meet Marie-Grace and Meet Cécile—weave together in one six-book fiction series, offering readers alternating perspectives of both characters’ experiences.
The Cécile and Marie-Grace dolls, books, and accessories will be available to pre-order on August 8, 2011 at americangirl.com, at all American Girl retail locations, or by calling 1-800-845-0005. The new line officially launches in all American Girl outlets on August 30, 2011