New from American Girl: the aloha spirit with Nanea Mitchell

Nanea laughing on beach sqSponsored postI want to raise global kids, so I must show how in times of crisis we help each other. Whether that’s our neighbors, our friends, our community, fellow countrymen, or it’s those around the world in places we’ve never been that need our help, I want them to do whatever they can to lend a hand. They may be young now and not ready to join in on recovery or mission trips, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not talking about our goal to help people as a family and thinking of things we can do to help those affected by Harvey or Irma. Nanea readingWith the release of American Girl’s newest BeForever doll, Nanea Mitchell, it gave us plenty of talking points to discuss ways that we can make a difference in times of crisis. Nanea Mitchell is a Hawaiian girl growing up on the island of Oahu in 1941. Her story explores what life was like for islanders in the weeks leading up to and the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which marked the U.S.’s entry into WWII. Not only does her story bring this period in history to life for girls today, Nanea’s story illuminates how the courage, patriotism, and aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people inspired a nation at war and shows how one girl can make a meaningful difference in the face of big change.

About bringing Nanea to life

“At its heart, our BeForever line is about building a bridge of understanding, helping girls today see the interconnectedness—the feelings, experiences, hopes, and dreams—that exists between themselves and girls from long ago,” says Katy Dickson, president of American Girl. “We hope Nanea’s powerful story of resilience, responsibility to others, and contributing for the common good—or kokua, as it’s known in Hawaii—will resonate with girls and show them they have the power within to face the obstacles that come their way.” Nanea on beach

Nanea’s Story

The Nanea books are written by Newbery Honor Award-winning author Kirby Larson, a very familiar name to many American Girl fans. In the series, 9-year- old Nanea loves her close-knit extended family, dancing the hula, fishing with her father, and playing with her dog, Mele.

Seriously, isn’t he adorable?Nanea cuddling MeleIn her books, Nanea is eager to “dip her paddle in”, or to be useful at home and at her grandparents’ store. When Pearl Harbor, the naval base where her father works, is attacked by Japan, the peaceful existence the Mitchells and their neighbors enjoy is gone. In its place is martial law, and rumors of additional attacks and frequent air-raid drills that have everyone on edge. Amid the chaos and uncertainty, Nanea embraces her spirit of aloha and deeply held belief in kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—to do her part for the war effort and help restore peace to her beloved Hawaiian home. Nanea Red Cross picI love Nanea’s story and the fact that in order to help ensure the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity of Nanea’s story and products, American Girl worked closely with a five-member advisory board. This advisory board provided their expertise in Hawaiian culture, language, and history to help shape all aspects of Nanea’s development—including the doll, books, outfits, and accessories. Nanea with bag

The American Girl Nanea doll

Nanea is an absolutely beautiful 18-inch doll featuring an all-new face mold, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair. This all-new face mold is similar to the Sonali and Josefina mold in many ways, but I actually think it is more like the Wellie Wishers look and feel with the narrow chin and wider eyes. It’s funny because many of the dolls my daughter has ended up being the exact same face mold, so I love that Nanea really stands out in her collection.

I’m a huge fan of the new face mold and I personally think Nanea is one of the most beautiful American Girl dolls they have ever released. And her accessories and sets? I’m smitten.Nanea on boatNanea comes dressed in a 1940s-era, Hawaiian-inspired blouse, white and navy shorts, brown sandals, and a single flower for her hair. Her collection also includes Hawaiian print dresses, a hula outfit, pajamas, a school lunch, and of course her dog Mele and his supplies. We splurged on the school dress, school lunch and both Mele and his supplies with a gift card for my daughter’s birthday, and it’s already a beloved set that the kids all love.

Speaking of love, we just adore Nanea’s Family Market which comes with 90 pieces, including a wooden store with a movable counter, food, supplies, displays, and more. The Seattle store has the set displayed in the Nanea section and it was a big huge hit with the kids. Nanea with Mele

The Nanea Spirit

As amazing as the doll, books, and accessories are, what is really cool about the release of Nanea is the impact that American Girl is making in the spirit of Nanea’s message.

Nanea helpingNanea is shown with items from the Our Generation Under The Weather Kit as well as their medic kit I picked up years ago. She is taking care of Logan and showing her kokua spirit.

Giving back: To support Nanea’s inspiring message, from August 21 until the end of 2017, American Girl will be collecting donations for the American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces {SAF} program to help provide comfort and care to the members of the military, veterans, and their families. American Girl will match every dollar donation made at or at any American Girl store in the U.S. up to a maximum total donation of $75,000. American Girl is also giving $575,000 worth of its signature 18-inch dolls to the American Red Cross to provide a bit of cheer to children in times of crisis. Nanea helpsEngaging girls: American Girl also introduced the Nanea Island Inspiration Sweepstakes as part of a partnership with Visit Oahu. You could have a chance to win a fun-filled family getaway for four to Oahu, which includes round-trip travel on Hawaiian Airlines, a four-night stay at The Royal Hawaiian, tickets for four to the Aha Aina Luau Show, a visit to two attractions at Pearl Harbor, and a Nanea doll. Nanea headshotNanea Videos and Online Play: Behind-the- scenes videos on Nanea’s story and development, along with fun Hawaiian-themed craft and activity videos, are available on American Girl’s YouTube channel at Girls can also visit the Nanea-dedicated site at for book excerpts, games and quizzes, wallpaper, and much more.
Nanea and MeleNanea Learning Materials: A free, downloadable teacher’s guide, which explores themes and issues covered in the Nanea book series, is available on the American Girl site in the Parents and Teachers section.  Nanea and girlYou can find out more about Nanea and see her whole collection on the American Girl site.

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