My daughter is shy and she has dyslexia. In our fast-paced world, being an introvert with a learning disability is a big challenge. She finds it difficult for her voice to be heard in social situations and at school.
In first grade, her school was able to provide enough assistance for her to get by. By second grade, I realized that she was really having trouble keeping up with her peers. By third grade, we decided that the public school in our area was not able to provide the learning environment that she needed.
My daughter was brave enough to speak with me about her feelings and challenges. She felt that it was very difficult for her to speak up in class or keep up with her schoolwork. We worked together to find a school in our area that fits her needs.
Recently, my daughter was introduced to the new American Girl BeForever doll, Melody Ellison™. Melody is a hopeful and positive 9-year-old girl growing up during the civil rights movement in Detroit. After seeing her family members face racial discrimination, and experiencing it herself, she decides to speak up about inequality to make a difference in her community.
The first thing my daughter said was, “She is so cute and I LOVE her hair.” There was no mention of Melody being any different from her other dolls. Once she read more about Melody’s story, she immediately related to Melody’s struggle for equality. One of the first things she did was pose Melody at our front door as if she were going door-to-door to ask for people to support the fight against inequality.
Although not a racial situation, my daughter’s learning disability made some peers, and even teachers, discriminate against her. She was called names like stupid and slow. She was asked “Why can’t you keep up?” and “Don’t you get it? It’s so easy!” She was also targeted by school bullies.
My daughter is very proud of herself for speaking up to make a difference in her own life. She is working with her current school by helping them research how dyslexic students learn. She hopes one day that all schools will be more equipped to handle this learning disability, which affects one in five people. Once she comes back into the public school system or heads off to college, she hopes to create a club where dyslexic students can support one another.
American Girl is introducing several activities and events to coincide with Melody’s launch:
Lift Your Voice with Melody: To celebrate the fairness and equality theme of Melody’s stories, American Girl has created Lift Your Voice with Melody, a campaign that encourages American Girl fans to share their photos and videos of how they’re speaking up to make a difference. Fans can watch the Lift Your Voice with Melody video and then share their own inspiring videos and photos, using #LiftYourVoice.
Melody Retail Events: At American Girl retail stores across the country, from August 26-28, girls will have an opportunity to listen to the soundtrack of Melody’s life—Motown—and will be immersed in her world with special block party food and décor, free crafts and receive a free Melody-inspired doll tee while supplies last. Check your specific store location for exact details and event timing.
Melody Learning Materials: For parents and teachers, free downloadable Melody Learning and Reader Discussion Guides are available at com, which explores themes and issues from the 1960s.
My daughter is eager to participate in the #LiftYourVoice program and attend a Melody event near us. She is also excited to read the Melody books. She’s interested to learn more about Melody’s story and the history of the civil rights movement. She’s learned a bit about it in school, but she can’t wait to find out more details. For my daughter to say that she’s looking forward to reading a book is a BIG deal!
I’m so glad that American Girl has released a doll that shares a very important message with girls of today. She’s the perfect addition to the BeForever collection.
The Melody collection is geared for girls ages 8 and up. To find out more details about the entire collection, visit americangirl.com.