From the instant my seven-year-old laid eyes on McKenna, American Girl’s 2012 Girl of the Year, she was smitten. And with good cause! McKenna has long, caramel-colored hair and blue eyes with a flair, we learn, for turning her strengths into triumphs. She comes dressed in fashionable teal leggings and a grey and teal striped shirt with purple and teal crisscross ballet flats as well. We were recently given the chance to review a McKenna doll and her books, and boy, did we love every minute of it!
McKenna is a gymnast, as is my daughter, and I, as a mom, love for what McKenna stands: determination, energy, and the power of believing in yourself and in your potential. What a fantastic, solid message for young girls. And just in case you thought McKenna was perfect, she’s not; she comes with a great story all laid out in her book McKenna by Mary Casanova, which comes with the doll. In it, we learn that McKenna has fallen behind in school with her reading comprehension and requires the help of a tutor; we watch as she deals head-on with this problem, employing her determination, and when she incurs a gymnastics injury, we see how she uses this to her advantage in helping others. As courageous and determined as she is in the gym, her difficulties in school temporarily make her confidence waver; but she discovers that through hard work, she can use the same discipline and focus she possess as a gymnast to help in her studies. And when she finishes a long book in one week—and enjoys it!—we see her pride and self-confidence bloom. McKenna also incurs a big life change when she sustains an injury that lands her on crutches. What will happen to her as a gymnast? As she faces these challenges, we see McKenna become better equipped to help her friends face their own. And to further the life lesson, the nonfiction section in the back of McKenna and the other book about her, McKenna, Ready to Fly! feature questions and advice from real girls on overcoming obstacles in the classroom and beyond.
American Girl is not only utilizing McKenna and her story to guide young girls through life’s twists and turns, but they’re also turning that learning into doing good for Save the Children’s U.S. Literacy Program. Girls can go online and play McKenna’s Take the Challenge! strength-finding quiz. Upon completion, girls will discover their top three strengths out of eight possible categories such as Music & Rhythm, Math & Numbers, etc. After completing ten fun online challenges that correlate to a girl’s strengths, she will receive a trophy. For each trophy earned, American Girl will donate 25 cents to the Save the Children’s Literacy Program. Having fun AND doing good works? Excellent!
And don’t forget to check out the companion book to the McKenna series, Take the Challenge: Crazy Challenges and Silly Thrills to Explore Your Talents and Everyday Skills. My 7 and 9-year old had a blast flipping through the pages of challenges, brain busters, timed tasks and quizzes, all designed to improve and boost self-confidence. We recently had a long, rainy afternoon here, and this book was a lifesaver. Not only was it fun, but it led to some great, quality conversations with my daughters. Those kinds of interactions are priceless to me as they grow older and discover themselves.
McKenna, her books and accessories will only be available for one year or while supplies last through American Girl’s catalogue, at www.americangirl.com and at all American Girl retail locations. Don’t miss out on this adorable go-getter! The American Girl company aspires to encourage young girls to dream, grow, create and imagine. I am happy to let my girls play with toys and read books from a company that believes in quality, service, and the women of our future.
GIVEAWAY: One (1) That’s IT Mommy reader will receive a set of two McKenna books and Take the Challenge book. This giveaway is open to US residents only (18+). Ends 2/24/12.
REQUIRED MAIN ENTRY: To enter, tell us who would you give the books to and why. Leave your comment in the reply box below this post. That’s IT!
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*This giveaway will run through midnight on February 24, 2012 (PST). Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact us before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. (18+) residents only.
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy received a McKenna Doll and books from American Girl/Mattel free of charge to facilitate this review. Giveaway item will be provided by sponsor. Sponsor has the right to refuse filling prize for duplicate winners from other blogs. This will in no way sway our opinion of the product or service. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.