Confession: I don't know everything I should

Obviously. But specifically, I don't know the American Girls very well.

In fact, I have gotten by with knowing very little about them* except that they are the highly merchandised dolls from different time periods of American history that each have their own series of six books (with additional shorter stories published along the way), clothes and, well, just lots of other accessories and paraphernalia.

But. I should know their names and when and where they're from. In particular, I should have recognized the references I've been hearing to Kit Kittredge, the depression-era girl now portrayed by Abigail Breslin in the movie. The movie that came out six months ago. And, I come to find out that television movies were made of Molly, Felicity and Samantha as well.

I need a cheat sheet.

Kaya (1764) is a Native American girl with an Appaloosa mare who learns the traditional ways of her people, the Nez Perce of the Pacific Northwest.

Felicity Merriman (1774) lives in Williamsburg, Virgina right before the American Revolution. She has both patriots and loyalists in her family, and has a good friend named Elizabeth. (This is tricky for me, when patrons ask about the Girls' counterparts). She also has a horse in her life, a copper-red mare.

Josephina Montoya (1824) is a Hispanic girl who lives on a ranch in (what is now) New Mexico (it wasn't part of the States at this point in history), and is influenced heavily by her aunt, Tia Dolores. .

Kirsten Larsen (1854) immigrates to a farm in Minnesota from Sweden and must learn the language, the customs and what have you.

Addy Walker (1864) and her family are slaves on a plantation in North Carolina just near the end of the Civil War. Desperate to be free, she and her mother escape to the free city of Philadelphia.

Samantha Parkington (1904) is an orphan with a wealthy grandmother who wants her to be a proper girl, and is paired with her friend Nellie, a servant girl.

Kit Kittregde (1934) lives in Cincinnati just as The Great Depression is affecting the lives of everyone around her, including her family.

Molly McIntire (1944) helps with the efforts of World War II, as do her parents (father a doctor sent to England, mother a volunteer with the Red Cross). She's paired with Emily, a refugee from England who stays with the family.

Julie Albright (1974) is a child of the 70s living near Chinatown in San Francisco struggling with her parents' divorce. Her best friend is Ivy, a Chinese girl.

Not to mention the Girl of the Year series that features girls in America today.

For more info that I (and most likely you) want, check out
KidsReads.com The American Girls Collection
The American Girl Historical Characters online store (with good visuals)
About.com's Women's History books for preteens

Well. This whole thing started when I was wondering who the heck Kit Kittredge was. Joan Freese at MinnPost aksed who knew Kit would be so hot right now? Well, not me. But now I do.

*In my defense, patrons tend to ask for the books by title, or by series name, and they tend to refer to the first name of the girl only. Also, the AG came along after the point in my childhood where I would have been interested, and the fever broke before I came on board as a librarian. I don't have kids in my life who are the age for the AG, and the times I would walk by the store in Chicago or the new store in the Mall of America I usually think to myself a) this is madness or b) I would have gone nuts over a Babysitters Club store when I was the age. But, knowing how interested I am in history now, I probably would have loved these girls when I was young.

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