A new year is officially coming, and American Girl has already started the festivities. The beloved brand has just unveiled their 2021 American Girl of the Year, Kira Bailey. Available online today, and in retail locations nationwide on Jan. 1, Kira is a curious and caring 10-year-old who loves animals and caring for our environment. I've always appreciated that American Girl creates thoughtful characters that help children grow up with confidence, and Kira Bailey is no exception.
American Girl worked with science and wildlife experts to create Kira's story, which centers around summer vacation at her aunt's wildlife sanctuary in Queensland, Australia. Kira learns to care for orphaned koalas, wombats, and kangaroo joeys, and makes a new friend named Alexis. But her Australian adventure takes a turn when a fire threatens the sanctuary. Showing great bravery and strength, Kira must rise to the challenge to protect her family and her new animal friends. In doing so, Kira learns an important lesson that you can’t let fear take over and prevent you from living your best life (honestly, that's great advice no matter how old you are).
I'm so impressed that American Girl is tackling heavy topics like climate change and wildlife protection in telling Kira's story. These issues are more relevant now than ever, and in educating our children about them through imaginative play, we are raising the next generation of concerned and engaged citizens. American Girl is planning climate-related events and partnerships to launch in April 2021, and will donate up to $25,000 to the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service, Inc. (WIRES), Australia's largest wildlife rescue organization dedicated to rescuing and caring for injured and orphaned animals, including those displaced by bushfires and droughts. As a companion to Kira's stories, American Girl will also introduce a nonfiction advice book, Love the Earth, for readers 8 and up. The fully-illustrated guide helps readers understand climate change and offers tips and tools for living an earth-friendly life. How cool is that?
Combining an important message with American Girl's reputation for well-made, classic dolls, Kira is a beautiful doll with green eyes and long, wavy blond hair. She comes dressed wearing a tie-dye tank, olive-green skirt, and lace-up boots that are perfect for exploring the Australian outback. Signature accessories include a backpack with koala keychain and postcards and photos of her adventures, plus a wide-brimmed hat to protect her from the sun. Children may choose from several Australian-inspired outfits for Kira, including matching girl and doll koala PJs, as well as several adorable plush animals, like a koala, kangaroo and joey, and a wombat with Kira’s Wildlife Rescue Set. Additional toys in the collection include Kira’s Animal Exam Table and Comfy Platform Tent, and both include over 20 authentic accessories.
To celebrate Kira’s debut, fans can visit American Girl retail stores today through Jan. 3 to explore and shop Kira’s world. Children will receive a free tote bag with a kangaroo joey design and a cute koala craft (while supplies last). But you don't have to visit a store to join the fun! You can watch several Kira-inspired videos on American Girl’s popular YouTube and YouTube Kids Channel, including a six-week “Meet Kira” stop motion series, plus Kira music videos, DIY crafts, and other Kira-inspired activities throughout the year. Kira also has her own dedicated play site to explore Kira’s Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Kira doll and book retails for $110 and Kira books ($7.99 each) can be purchased in retail stores or online. I think Kira Bailey makes a fantastic addition to American Girl's lineup of dolls that inspire children to make a positive difference in the world.