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What I learned from American Girl


No matter what century they lived in, the American Girls have shown us how to survive and thrive. During hard times—war, poverty, having to wear your big sister’s or big brother’s hand-me-downs—they found ways to make things better. We may have grown up, but these lessons stayed with us! In the new book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl, you can find great advice from the American Girl characters you loved as a girl. 

Everything I need to know I learned from American Girl.

Everything I need to know I learned from American Girl.

Spend time with Samantha, Kirsten, Molly, Felicity, Addy, Josefina, Kit, Kaya, Julie, and Rebecca, and revisit classic illustrations from the books you loved as a girl. You can share them with your girl, too! Here’s a sneak peek:

Valerie Tripp is the beloved author of many of the original American Girl stories, including Kit’s books. Below, she shares what she’s learned from her own characters—and her readers:

One day in January 2017, I received this nice note from a seventh-grade reader named Rachael:

Dear Ms. Tripp, I am writing to tell you that you are my favorite author. I love Kit! You have created my favorite character in the world! Her can-do attitude is so inspiring. I love the way she solves problems with her resourceful ideas. Your books inspired my love of history and now I want to become a history professor when I grow up. I have learned so much about the Great Depression and 1930s America because of your writing.
Thank you for sharing your gift with the world; I have read each of the Kit books more than twice. 🙂
From, Rachael, a 7th grader
P.S. I would love if you wrote me back 🙂
P.P.S. My sister loves Ruthie 🙂

Enclosed with the letter was a card that read:

“It might not not appear in the newspaper, it might not change anything or anyone else, but writing it would change the way she felt.”

“Very true,” I thought. It wasn’t until I turned the card over that I saw that the quote about writing was from Changes for Kit. I had absolutely no memory of writing that sentence. I’ve kept Rachael’s quote in a small frame on my desk ever since she sent it to me. When the going gets tough writing-wise—and it does, every single day—the card is there so that Kit and Rachael can teach me yet again that the act of writing is transformative. They’re instructing me to Sit Down and Do It. Shape those thoughts. Express those feelings. Discipline that murky idea into a coherent sentence with bones: a point, a beginning, a middle, and an end. And even if the sentence is never sent out into the world it will have changed the world because it will have changed me.
—Valerie Tripp

More than anything, these girls taught us what it means to be a girl: reach high, dream big, and speak out for what you believe in. But the best advice is always this: follow your own heart.

Find Everything I Need to Know I Learned from American Girl here.

©2021 American Girl. American Girl and associated trademarks are owned by American Girl, LLC.

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