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Everything American Girl creates starts with story. While we’re best known for characters who empowered an entire generation, our 35th birthday celebration gives voice to real girls whose stories—and actions—have inspired others to change the world.

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As we amplify their accomplishments and honor our authors, we encourage you and your girl to join the conversation! Learn more about Marley and Paris below. Check out the newest titles in our Smart Girls’ Guide series—packed with advice and answers that give girls exactly what they need, just when they need it most.

Check back throughout the year to hear from more amazing young women.

 

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4 Generations of Black Voices

Black stories matter, which is why we’re kicking off our Conversations for Change series with the voices of Marley Dias and Paris Williams. These incredible young changemakers have inspired others to find the kind of courage that transforms conversations into change.

Watch with your girl and inspire important conversations.

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Here's a letter from Marley that you and your girl can read together.

Marley Dias, 16

Founder of #1000blackgirlbooks

Dear American Girl Community,

Happy New Year! I hope you are well and staying safe. Five years ago, the Philly Voice ran an article about my campaign; this article amplified my story and propelled me into this larger public life. I was only 11 years old, and admittedly I didn't know what this spotlight would mean for my life. I was nervous and excited about what my teachers would think and how my ideas would be perceived by those I cared about.

Marley Dias with her American Girl doll

Looking back now, I realize that I was almost numb to the experience. I focused on making sure that the world understood racial and gender exclusion issues and I didn't take any time to enjoy these special moments. While I wish I had soaked up more of the perks along the way, I am proud of my unrelenting focus and hard work. I want our society to see, hear, and value those often excluded, starting with girls like me. I began by aiming to collect 1,000 books where Black girls were the main character because I am a Black girl, and I knew what exclusion felt for Black girls. I always try my best to be clear that I want us to create space for ALL of us, that’s why I support campaigns led by other kids with entirely different experiences than mine. We cannot do things as usual. We need to expand our focus, and kids need the support of parents throughout this journey. Caregivers need to listen, support, and dream with the children in their lives. They need to ask them questions, show them the wonders of life, and show them that they don't have to wait to "grow up" to help others and change the world. With my caregivers' and community's support, I have now collected over 13,000 books where Black girls are the main character. With the right encouragement and resources, a story of activism like mine will become the norm rather than an exception.

 

Happy Reading,
Marley Dias

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Here's a letter from Paris that you and your girl can read together.

Paris Williams with her American Girl doll

Paris Williams, 7

Founder of Paris Cares

Dear American Girl Community,

My name is Paris Williams and I am 7 years old. I started my own foundation called The Paris Cares Foundation and my mission is to feed as many homeless as possible. I make Paris Cares packages filled with food items. Each package has a positive word written on the bag to give hope to the homeless. I also hand out hygiene kits for those in need or deliver them to local shelters.

The Paris Cares Foundation has provided lunch to essential workers, toys for homeless children for Christmas, Christmas Eve dinner for a local shelter for teens, and Paris Cares packages of food were delivered to many homeless through the St. Louis community. During the winter months, we have handed out hats, gloves, and hand warmers. In the summer months, we deliver ice, water, and Gatorade to those in need. It brings me joy to help my community.

I want to reach as many homeless people as possible because I love seeing the homeless happy when they open the bags. My goal is for my foundation to keep growing and help as many people as I can.

Tips for giving back to your community:

  • Ask your parents
  • Make sure it is safe
  • Start small with items you have at home
  • Never go alone
  • Set a small goal and work toward it
  • Get your family involved

Always remember to be kind and help others when you can.

- Paris

Follow my journey on Instagram @pariscaresfoundation

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Spark conversation. Create Change. Download free.

You can find stories written by Black women and featuring Black heroines to share with your girl in our free online library.

Choose a Truly Me doll or Create Your Own.

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Check back throughout the year to hear from more amazing young women.

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