Grace Thomas: 2015 Girl of the Year from American Girl inspires kids to bake a difference

Sponsored postEvery year we look forward to January 1st for one reason. It’s like the Super Bowl for doll fans as American Girl debuts their Girl of the Year in store as well as on their website for purchase. And, this year was no exception as they introduced a beautiful new doll that every young girl is excited about.

Readers, meet Grace Thomas, the new Girl of the Year for 2015. American Girl Grace dollWith dark brown hair with light brown highlights, bright blue eyes, and freckled cheeks, Grace has a certain spark about her. Grace and Bonbon dog Amercian Girl

Dressed in a Parisian-inspired bow-topped skirt and an Eiffel Tower shirt {shown here with her dog, purchased separately}, she looks like she would be at home strolling through a lush Paris jardin and sightseeing. Her outfit is paired with adorable sueded boots and topped off with a lovely silver charm bracelet just like the one Grace and her mom create in the new book, Grace, by Mary Cassanova. American Girl Grace charm braceletThe Grace doll will be available for only one year as will her adorable French-inspired outfits, accessories, and playsets. From girl and doll matching aprons to doll-sized cooking gear, her special French bulldog, and even a French Bakery Set that is so popular it is sold out in many stores, the Grace collection is the stuff little girls' dreams are made of.
Grace Thomas Girl of the YearBut, beyond Grace’s beauty and her adorable accessories, there is something really special about her and immediately I knew I needed to find out more about her story. When learning about Grace and reading her books with my daughter, I of course loved that she was an aspiring blogger, but I also adored the relationship Grace had with her parents and how they encouraged her to dream big {starting her own business, exploring with friends} while still keeping her close {sightseeing by bike with her mom, creating a special charm souvenir of their memories together}. Charm bracelets American GirlThese are the charm bracelets my daughter and I collect together. I've had a few year's head start, but my daughter is slowly catching up as we travel and do special things together. As you can see, Grace and her charm bracelet are a good fit for our family.

As we've learned more about Grace I have one question that I keep returning to: when does a doll become more than merely a toy? The answer is when that doll becomes a beloved friend, a playmate, or as I've learned recently, when she is a call to action.

This call to action takes many forms with Grace. Like all the Girl of the Year dolls, Grace inspires girls to try something new, to take a chance on a dream, and to believe in yourself. But, Grace has one more call to action that I adore: For Goodness, Bake!
For Goodness BakeThrough a year-long partnership with No Kid Hungry, the campaign to end childhood hunger in America from Share Our Strength, American Girl has created For Goodness, Bake! and is inviting girls to see how they can make a big impact in their communities. By asking girls to organize a charity bake sale and donate to No Kid Hungry, they are encouraging them to get involved and help kids just like themselves who may not know where their next meal is coming from.

There will also be 41 Grace prizes awarded to those hosting bake sales as well as tons of resources available to girls and their parents. To kick off the initaitive, American Girl has donated $50,000 to No Kid Hungry and is allowing shoppers to donate as well from and at retail stores. If you're like me and looking for ways you can raise charitable kids who see the value in giving back, you will love that this campaign allows you to give what you can – from donating time and energy or donating monetarily.
Bake sale with GraceI’m personally looking forward to ordering our bake sale kit from No Kid Hungry and planning an event with friends, family, and neighbors this spring to help raise money for the cause. Knowing that for every $1 donated, No Kid Hungry can connect a child with 10 meals is really cool and a great way to show my daughter how we can make an impact together. I’m excited to see what others bring to the sale and how many people we can reach, but mostly I’m excited about doing something so meaningful with my daughter.American Girl Bake SaleShe’s reaching the age when kids begin to retreat to their rooms and bury themselves in books, music, and electronics, and I love that Grace will allow us to bond and work on something together. Along with the bonding that comes from American Girl doll play, which usually has us reading their stories together, doing arts and crafts, styling hair, and visiting the local American Girl Café together, Grace is adding a whole new level of interaction. Cooking with Grace ThomasBy introducing cooking with her dolls, creating and modifying recipes, and finally, organizing an event to give back to our community, Grace will give me even more ways to keep her close and encourage her to do amazing things while she is still young. Every parent understands how priceless that truly is. Grace and girl in apronLooking at picking up the new Grace Thomas American Girl doll? Here are just a few good reasons to run out and get her before she’s gone:

  1. Learning in the kitchen. Cooking with your children teaches them important math skills as well as an appreciation for the trial and error that goes into making up or modifying recipes. Grace shows kids that cooking is not only a family affair that allows you to connect with older generations, but it is also an amazing way to make your own special recipes to share with others.
  2. Grace is a problem-solver. When things begin to go wrong and she’s feeling down, her dad says to her “What are YOU going to do about it?” This is such an important lesson for young kids to learn and I love that the Grace story shows them it’s important to take responsibility for what they can change and what they cannot and use that to formulate a plan. 
  3. American born, world traveler at heart. My kids are huge into traveling and there’s nowhere they don’t want to explore as a family, so I love that Grace’s first novel predominately takes place in France where she is staying with her aunt’s family for the summer. Paris will always be a special place for me, so I love that the Grace stories help me share that with the kids. The books do a great job of including French terminology {including a French to English glossary at the back of the book} as well as describing famous landmarks and the French way of life. It may not be as rich of an immersion as traveling for a summer abroad, but it’s a great way to get young kids interested in different cultures and world views.
  4. Anyone can be an entrepreneur. In the Grace novels, Grace’s grandparents have owned a bakery in her hometown for 30 years, and Grace’s aunt Sophie owns a Patisserie in France with her family. When Grace and her friends tell others they are interested in starting their own business, they are only met with support and encouragement, even when they run into problems. As someone who comes from a family of entrepreneurs, I love that this exposes kids to the idea of working for themselves someday as well as showing many of the hurdles they will have to overcome to succeed.
  5. New experiences with your daughter. Starting in March, you can sign up for all-new mother/daughter American Girl French-inspired cooking classes at many nationwide Sur La Table stores so you can learn something new together. While I’ve taken cooking classes with hubby before, I love the idea of taking them with my daughter as well. There’s something really fun about getting use of an amazingly stocked and pristine Sur La Table kitchen to make a fun recipe and memory together. Also, be sure to check out their clearance cooking ornaments while you’re at it because many of the American Girl baking accessories we have are from their ornament collection and they are really awesome quality metal pieces that make cooking with dolls even more fun.
  6. A chance to give back. Grace can encourage your daughter to join in the nationwide bake sale sponsored by American Girl and No Kid Hungry. Sometimes giving back can seem daunting when you’re young and you don’t know where to start, but by partnering with American Girl, it makes it easy to plan and organize a special bake sale while doing something fun with friends and family.
  7. Creating priceless memories. Sure, there are cheaper 18” dolls available at mass retailers, but any girl will tell you that there’s something special about American Girl dolls. It’s not only the heirloom quality of the doll itself, which is undeniable once you see them in person, but it’s all the little things that make them so amazing. With an elaborate backstory for each doll, the accompanying novels, accessories, and the huge potential for long term play that makes American Girl dolls more than worth it. Really.  

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather save up money for a doll that keeps us reading together, crafting and cooking, and doing special projects like bake sales together. It’s certainly more appealing than blowing money on the newest electronic that will encourage my kids to retreat to their rooms. I’m sure I’ve got my fair share of that coming during the teenage years, so for now I will be grateful that we can bond over these dolls and their accessories and create special memories that will last a lifetime.   Reading the Grace American Girl bookFor more information about Grace Thomas and her collection, visit American Girl online or in-store throughout 2015. If you do go in-store, I dare you not to fall for this amazing French Bakery Set and resist the temptation to open every cupboard and pull out the 60 pieces to play. Grace American Girl CollageBe sure and connect with American Girl on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Leanne SignatureA big thank you to American Girl for surprising us with a Grace doll to continue our tradition of bonding over dolls. The dog, Grace's cooking set, and girl's apron were purchased by us because we love all of Grace's accessories. As always, all opinions are 100% ours.

14 thoughts on “Grace Thomas: 2015 Girl of the Year from American Girl inspires kids to bake a difference”

  1. I love how you broke down all the benefits of buying AG. They really are a great company and the bonding opportunities are endless with an AG doll!

  2. The Grace doll is so gorgeous, my niece has one and she loves it so much and plays with her doll all the time! I think that every girl should have one of these wonderful dolls!


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