My daughter loves American Girl. She has her American Girl doll that looks like her, and she loves the books and clothing from American Girl. Recently we were sent a set of two books to help introduce the two newest American Girl Dolls that will be joining the American Girl family and are now available for pre-order. These two dolls are based from the south, New Orleans. Both of these dolls are based on historical characters, Cecile and Marie-Grace. These new girls are friends and they show how it was to have a friendship of different races in a different time was. How they reached across the lines that were made by others, to help others close them in a time of need. The stories are strong which make these new dolls and the stories behind these dolls a must have!! We were so fortunate to receive both of the books about these amazing girls. My daughter has started reading them and seems to be amazed by what she is learning. I love seeing her get lost in books, especially books that teach such strong history and values!!
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.