In 2015, American Girl debuts Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas. In Grace, Mary Casanova, also the author of Girl of the Year characters Jess, Christa, and McKenna, offers readers, ages 8 and up, a walking tour of Paris, a tutorial in French pastries, a lexicon of French phrases, as well as the story of a girl stepping out of her comfort zone.
When Grace’s mother announces a surprise trip to Paris, Grace is frustrated that her friends back home will start a business without her and the language barrier between her and her cousin will leave her lonely. Grace embodies the spirit of cooperation, enthusiasm, team work, and entrepreneurship: She uses her time in Paris to learn about the French cultural history and language, and refines her baking skills at her aunt and uncle’s bakery. When she returns home to Boston, she uses her new culinary skills and enthusiasm to start a baking business with her friends.
In Grace Stirs It Up, Grace learns about management, friendship, and responsibilities, as she gets her business off the ground and helps her dog, Bonbon, adjust to his new home. Grace Makes It Great, due to be published in May 2015, introduces young readers to the rules of business and responsible business practices, following the story of Grace’s success with La Petite Patisserie and the difficulties her grandparents’ baking business run into.
Available for only one year, the 18-inch Grace doll has long brown hair, blue eyes, and a French-inspired outfit, complete with a pink beret, Eiffel Tower t-shirt, and a pink skirt. Available accessories include more French-inspired outfits and toys, including a 60 piece French Bakery Set. Universal Home Entertainment will release a full-length movie of Grace’s story on DVD for summer 2015.
In order to further Grace’s enthusiasm for baking and team work, American Girl has started the “For Goodness, Bake!” fund-raising initiative for No Kid Hungry. In the United States, more than 16 million kids struggle with hunger: these children lack the necessary nutrition for proper physical and mental development, and are less likely to succeed in school. The goal is to inspire girls to hold charity bake sales in their communities to raise awareness of the issue, encourage a spirit of philanthropy, and raise money for this cause. No Kid Hungry can connect a hungry child with ten additional meals for every $1 a girl raises.
Parents can visit americangirl.com/girloftheyear to learn more about the initiative, register their bake sales for No Kid Hungry, and for a chance to win one of 41 Grace prize packages.