American Girl just unveiled its new collection this past Tuesday featuring its very first boy doll named Logan Everett. His unveiling, however, may have eclipsed the other new dolls that are entering the line–they are also introducing a Native Hawaiian and Korean American characters this year.
One doll is a Korean American filmmaker named Z Yang, while the other is a Native Hawaiian girl named Nanea Mitchell who grew up during World War II. Julie Parks, the company’s director of public relations, told The Huffington Post that parents have been requesting dolls with “more experiences, more diversity, more interests,” and thankfully, the company is responding.
Z Yang was technically already introduced, as she is the star of American Girl’s YouTube series #AGZCREW, which has been running since 2015. The American Girl website says that Z uses her “creativity to connect with others, and her stories remind girls that everyone has a unique perspective to share ― even if it’s not perfect.”
Z will be available this spring, which makes her the second Asian American character in American Girl’s collection. The first was Ivy Ling, a Chinese American doll who grew up in San Francisco in the 1970s, but she was discontinued in 2014.
Nanea, on the other hand, is a Hawaiian girl who grew up in 1941. She is part of American Girl’s BeForever series, and will be in stores this fall. While Nanea is not the first doll from the World War II period, her experience is “told from a really different perspective,” according to Stephanie Spanos, company spokesperson.
It’s extremely exciting to witness toy history as it enfolds, because while toys may just seem like toys, they are some of the first introductions to culture and history for children. And why not give our kids a diverse background?