Like, oh my gosh, have you heard the news? American Girl has just released their newest historical doll! Her name is Courtney Moore and she’s from—can you believe it—1986! To be honest, it does seem a little bit weird to be thinking of the 1980s as history, but realistically, they did start 40 years ago. Alright, I’m done making all of us 80s babies feel old now because what I really want to talk about is the awesomeness of this doll.
She is a literal Valley Girl from Orange Valley, CA. She comes with feathered bangs, an acid-washed denim skirt, bright colors everywhere, and did you see those slouchy leather booties? Her (optional) accessories include a handheld cassette player with a mix tape, a stack of plastic bangle bracelets, and a tiny little pretend Lip Smacker on a cord! As always with the American Girl historical doll line, the attention to detail is incredible, everything from the itty bitty LipSmacker with a removable lid and “lip balm” inside, to the earphones with a real metal headband is perfection. You should definitely take a scroll through her page at AmericanGirl.com. Every item on it was something I owned or wanted as a kid. Okay, I didn’t want a Pac-Man lunchbox, but I did have a lunchbox just like that one, including the thermos. I mean seriously, didn’t we all?
Have you been able to make a connection with your daughter as 80s and 90s TV shows and fashions that have come back in style? I’ve done it with scrunchies and denim jackets. I know some people that have done it by watching the new She-Ra Princess of Power together. My daughter and I have also connected through books. She really enjoyed reading the memoirs Smile by Raina Telgemeier and Real Friends by Shannon Hale, whose main characters grew up in the 80s. (As a matter of fact, the authors are about my age!) When we read Smile and Real Friends, she thought it was so neat that I had worn clothes like the characters in the book or owned things that the characters owned. I think that’s what I love most about Courtney. Through her clothing and accessories, she has been such an amazing way for me to connect with my daughter. Courtney is nine, the same age as my daughter, who loves that she’s a doll of her favorite literary characters—and her mom! The fact that she can see “real life” versions of the clothes and toys she read about in her favorite books brings them to life for her.
Whether it’s checking out the items in Courtney’s Totally Rad Collection or her Ultimate Collection, my daughter and I have spent tons of time talking about what my clothes looked like when I was her age (and yes, what my hair looked like then, too…), and what toys I played with when I was nine. We’ve listened to music I listened to when I was a kid, and talked about what my double-cassette player looked like, and how completely different it was to listen to our own personal music than it is for her with her iPhone. And, of course, we did all this while making our very own puffy paint t-shirts and a Funfetti cake! We even watched The Care Bears Movie as a family (up next is the original My Little Pony movie, so she can compare it to what she watches now).
It’s been so much fun sharing with my daughter. And it’s not like we don’t ever talk to each other, but I’ve been surprised how many memories Courtney and her collection have brought back for me! They’re things I would never have remembered when my daughter requests, “Tell me about when you were my age.” Courtney’s story has historical teachable moments as well, including the push for women’s equality (Courtney’s mom is running to be the first female mayor in Orange Valley), and what it was like for children to witness the Challenger disaster. We haven’t read Courtney’s book yet, but I know when we do, it will lead to some intense—and sad—discussion in our house.
Who would have thought a doll would inspire so much connection between real people? It’s, like, totally rad!