American Girl’s newest Girl of the Year doll may be from the U.S. of A., but she’s spending her summer abroad Down Under thanks to her passion for animals and the environment.
The company on Thursday introduced its 2021 Girl of the Year Kira Bailey, a “nurturing and inquisitive” 10-year-old from Michigan visiting her great-aunts at their wildlife sanctuary and vet clinic in Queensland, Australia.
The green-eyed, blonde-haired Kira spends her time caring for orphaned koala joeys, learning about climate change and helping as the sanctuary is threatened by bushfire.
“As we all witnessed the bushfires rage in Australia last year and start up again this September, and the devastating wildfires in the Western United States, we knew it was important to focus Kira’s story on the major conservation and climate challenges facing our planet today — causes that are extremely important to today’s youth,” Jamie Cygielman, American Girl general manager, said in a statement. “Through Kira, we hope our fans will learn that we all have a part to play in taking positive action for our planet.”
In conjunction with Kira’s release, American Girl also announced a partnership with NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service, Inc. (WIRES), which is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization dedicated to rescuing and caring for sick, injured and orphaned animals. From now through Dec. 30, 2021, American Girl will match customer donations to WIRES dollar for dollar up to $25,000.
To help create Kira, American Girl worked closely with author Erin Teagan, who has a master’s degree in science and traveled to Australia to get to know the local wildlife better.
Others helped get it right, too, including Dr. Alison Bee, a veterinarian and owner/manager of a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation facility for koalas in North Queensland, and Tassin Barnard, who owns a wildlife preserve in New South Wales.
Along with accessories including an animal exam table set and a platform tent, Kira will also get a two-book series all about her trip to visit her great-aunts Mami and Lynette. There, with her new friend Alexis, Kira learns to take care of injured and orphaned animals, and must learn to overcome her fear when “a roving predator and a raging bushfire threaten the sanctuary.”
Her release also accompanies a companion nonfiction advice book called Love the Earth, which helps readers 8 years and older understand climate change, and gives tips and tools to lead a more sustainable life.
Kira comes with a tie-dye tank top, sporty skirt and lace-up boots, and also has an outdoor backpack with a koala keychain, a wide-brimmed hat and koala pajamas.
American Girl will host a virtual 2021 Girl of the Year event on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, the first of its kind, and will also debut a series of videos inspired by Kira on its YouTube and YouTube Kids channels.
There’s also a play website where kids can explore Kira’s wildlife sanctuary and play games.
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