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Face heartache with the help of faith and family: Josefina's story


Overcoming loss
with love

Josefina is nursing a broken heart after losing her beloved Mamá. But Josefina and her three sisters are delighted when their aunt, Tía Dolores, arrives at the rancho, bringing new ideas and new challenges. Josefina struggles to embrace all the changes while still cherishing her memories of Mamá. Shared successes and a special Christmas celebration help Josefina realize that precious memories and traditions will always stay safe in her heart.


Mending a
broken family

Through her deep faith and shining hope, Josefina wants to lead her family toward a brighter future. Josefina’s hope grows when she discovers a gift for healing while tending to an orphaned baby goat. But will Josefina find the courage and creativity to keep her family whole and happy when Tía Dolores plans to leave the rancho?

Girl with Josefina doll

Guidance for girls today

Although Josefina’s own heart is hurting, she always looks for ways to make things better for those around her.

Healing and helping others. Josefina dreams of becoming a curandera—a healer. She takes care of the baby goat Sombrita, tends to Mamá’s damaged flower garden, and even saves her friend Mariana after a rattlesnake bite.

Optimism. Faith is a big part of Josefina’s life, which helps her to believe in the possibility of a better future. When her sisters or Papá despair, she is quick to share words of encouragement.

Resilience. Even though Josefina experiences loss, setbacks, and mistakes, she can always be counted on to find the strength to move forward.

Watch why character matters

Creating a hero: Josefina comes to life

“Josefina richly captures, conveys, and re-creates a significant time, place, and heritage in New Mexican and American history that young people seldom learn about.”

— Mr. Juan R. García, Associate Dean, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Professor, Department of History, University of Arizona



Authentic from the start

Josefina Montoya’s world came to life in September 1997 after nearly three years of research, writing, and design. Her story was created to help girls understand what life was like growing up in 19th-century New Mexico. To ensure the historical accuracy and authenticity of the books and related products, Josefina’s character was developed with the guidance of an advisory board made up of historians, educators, curators, and other professionals deeply knowledgeable about the history and cultures of the American Southwest.

Series author Valerie Tripp and the American Girl team performed in-depth research for the Josefina series at museums, libraries, and historical sites in New Mexico and throughout the United States. Careful steps were taken to ensure everything was accurate. For example, because the Montoya rancho is modeled closely after la Hacienda de los Martínez in Taos and El Rancho de las Golondrinas outside of Santa Fe, the research team spent countless hours with the staff and collections of both museums.

Tripp spent several months living in New Mexico visiting many tiny villages and interviewing elderly New Mexican women to understand the daily lives of Hispanic women, families, and children living in rural New Mexico. “These women told me about laundry, cooking, sewing, and other household chores. But most of all they told me how people in families like Josefina’s cared for one another,” said Tripp. “And how, through hard work and strong faith, they made their families feel healthy, safe, and—above all—loved.”

Putting it all into play

A beautiful set

I love the detail put into Josefina. Her hair is silky gorgeous, and her outfit is incredibly detailed. Her book is also very lovely about a time period I did not know very much about but makes me wish I could go there in real life.

American Girl Customer



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