Celebrating Girls and all they can be

Fall 2012

American Girl E-News

In this issue, discover the story of our newest historical character! Caroline Abbott is an adventurous girl who must face her bravest moments during the War of 1812.

Meet Caroline Abbott Girls today are always facing challenges—large and small. No matter what size they are, in situations like these, a girl must find the inner resources to step up and help out. She has the chance to be an "everyday hero." Our newest historical character, Caroline Abbott, faces her own challenges in 1812. A shipbuilder's daughter growing up in Sackets Harbor, New York, Caroline is an adventurous girl who loves to sail Lake Ontario with her father. When war breaks out, however, Papa is taken prisoner by the British. Without her father, Caroline struggles to curb her natural impulsiveness as Papa would want her to, and help out at home instead. As the war comes closer and closer, Caroline gradually learns to trust her mind and her heart to help her family, friends, and village.
Discover more about Caroline--and the contest she inspired. Caroline's Share the Hero in you! video story contest. Preview Caroline's story, get insights from girls today, and learn how to enter the contest. Creating Caroline™ Author Kathleen Ernst, who lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, has a passion for history—and for bringing it to life for kids. She's written many historical novels for children, including eight mysteries for American Girl. She also spent 12 years as a curator at a living-history museum, where she gained hands-on experience with historical activities from gardening to cooking to crafts. When offered the chance to write about an American Girl living in 1812, Kathleen started by reading everything she could find about the era. As Caroline's personality, setting, and story took shape, Kathleen traveled to Sackets Harbor, New York, and Kingston, Canada, to explore the places that would be important in the series. She even sailed one of the Great Lakes on a 19th-century ship to find out exactly what Caroline would have experienced in her adventures! Author Kathleen Ernst sails the Great Lakes like Caroline Kathleen's research uncovered many dramatic events that took place in and around Sackets Harbor during the war, including two battles right in the village. Working from these real events, she came up with riveting plot ideas that bring Caroline face to face with danger and hard decisions. "But," Kathleen says, "exciting plots aren't enough to make a satitsfying story. Readers need to care about a character, too. I think the secret lies in creating a character with authentic emotions. Caroline has moments of anger and fear, and of joy and celebration. She has cherished dreams tucked away in her heart, and she does everything she can to make them come true." Kathleen adds, "Many things have changed in the 200 years since Caroline's time, but human emotions have stayed the same. Caroline reminds me a bit of me when I was young." For inspiration, illustrators Lisa and Rob Papp visited Carolin's hometown Caroline's stories were illustrated by husband-and-wife team Robert and Lisa Papp, who live near Philadelphia. Rob and Lisa share Kathleen's passion for bringing history to life for kids. To immerse themselves in Caroline's era, they also visited Sackets Harbor during a national gathering of War of 1812 re-enactors. Rob and Lisa were transported back in time as hundreds of men, women, and children in authentic period costumes roamed the village and re-enacted real events. Back at home, Rob selected the models for Caroline and other characters while Lisa and her mother sewed period costumes for the models to wear during photo shoots. The photos became references for Rob's oil paintings (for the large illustrations) and Lisa's watercolors (for the additional artwork). Their passion for what they do shines through in illustrations that truly give readers a window into Caroline's world. Carolin's skiff is authentic to her story and time A similar passion guided our product designers. The styles of Caroline's day allowed them to create a brand-new "Jane Austen" look for Caroline's clothing. Her product also took to the seas, inspired by an adventurous storyline. The highlight is Caroline's sailboat—a wooden skiff with details authentic to 1812. 200 years: 1812 to today This year, America honors the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the war when our country fought Britain a second time to secure American independence once and for all. It's a perfect time to honor the "everyday heroes" who helped shape our country then—and to inspire girls today to honor the "everyday hero" inside themselves.