My family had a tradition of buying an American Girl doll for each of the granddaughters in the family when they got to an appropriate age. When I was very young, for my birthday, I was asked what type of doll I would like. At that point there were only three dolls available. Samantha, Molly, and Kirsten.
I chose Kirsten because she had blonde hair and was Swedish just like me. Usually I never found anything really pertaining to Sweden or Swedish people so for me, this was fascinating, a pretty doll and an entire series of books all about a Swedish girl!
I received the doll and for each holiday and birthday I received dresses for Kirsten. To me, she was one of my best friends. Countless days were spent with that doll. I recall throwing her a birthday party and laying with her under the trees in our yard on hot summer days.
I reread the books a few weeks ago. Once more, a moment to jump back into the past and have a stirring of my memories. The books are fantastic and not only entertaining for children. Reading the book I was able to see what life during the 1900's was like and not only for those living in America but fresh new immigrants of America.
The books also gave little history lessons on the lives of Swedish people and the lives of Americans in the 1900's. Schooling, Christmas, winter, birthday festivities. I have yet to find a book that gives me a brief history lesson in as much of an entertaining way as these books did.
I have not read all of the other books that American Girls now have but I fully intend on introducing the series to my daughter (shall I ever have one). They are great books with strong female characters who go on adventures and make tough decisions. The girls are real, experiencing real life issues that some children can relate to. It's a positive way to get children interested in reading but also introducing them to a positive way to play.