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Stand up for girls’ rights and make a difference: Julie’s story

Julie with basketball

Taking charge in
changing times

As The Big Break begins, Julie is struggling with her parents’ divorce, which means she must move to a new house, start over at a new school, and find new friends. Yet Julie’s filled with hope when she thinks there’s the chance to play basketball on the school team—until she learns it’s just for boys. Only then does Julie realize she has the power to bring about change.

Julie on the beach

Rising to the

In Julie Takes a Stand, she gets the chance to celebrate the Bicentennial on a wagon train, sending her on a journey of self-discovery. Back in school, Julie runs for student body president in hopes of improving the detention system. But is her bold idea for change enough to turn the vote in her direction?

Girl reading Julie book

Guidance for girls today

By role modeling resilience, activism, and leadership in her stories, Julie helps girls understand they can face any situation:

Bouncing back. When tested by adversity, whether it’s at school or with her family, Julie’s always optimistic she’ll figure out a positive side to the changes in her life.

Speaking up. If there’s a cause Julie believes in, she summons the courage to make her viewpoint known and act upon it.

An example for all. Despite facing criticism, Julie is willing to risk failure in order to make things right.

Watch why character matters

Creating a hero: Julie comes to life

“I hope readers realize that the struggles girls went through in the 1970s have paved the way for many of the wider opportunities that girls have today. What are often unquestioned rights now were intense political struggles for girls and women of the 1970s, such as divorce and equality for girls in sports. These stories can empower girls to create change—to know that they have the capacity to effect change in their own lives, no matter what obstacles they face.”

— Megan McDonald, author of the Julie series



Authentic from the start

While the 1970s don’t feel like history to many people because they lived through the era, we didn’t simply rely on memories to craft Julie’s world. For more than three years, our staff historian, editors, and product designers researched nearly every aspect from the time and place of Julie’s story.

From there, author Megan McDonald supplemented her understanding of the time period by poring over hundreds of books, newspapers, magazines, and websites. But some of Megan's most relevant sources of information were related to her: four older sisters who helped Megan relive the 1970s.

Together the sisters were able to recall the sights, sounds, and smells of the time period. Rummaging through the family attic, they discovered old peasant shirts, hippie dresses, and seed beads, plus photographs, report cards, letters, and school papers. And of course, all while listening to records on vinyl!

With all this inspiration to tap into, the team developed a world that represents the 1970s as realistically—and “groovily”—as possible.

Putting it all into play

Teachable history

We feel that Julie is such a good role model for our daughter. We want her to also speak up for what she believes in and to be a spunky, strong woman as she grows older. Thanks to American Girl for helping us start these conversations and for giving our daughter a role model to look up to!

American Girl Customer


Explore more of Julie’s world