The famed doll company announced its first ever Asian American Girl of the Year, a new doll named Corinne Tan who lives in Aspen, Colorado and loves to ski. 

Corinne’s story and accompanying books feature her coping with her parents’ divorce, new family members, and anti-Asian sentiment towards her as a Chinese American. She also has a little sister, Gwynn, as seen in American Girl promotional materials. The two books were written by Asian American author Wendy Shang

In a statement to TODAY Parents, American Girl general manager Jamie Cygielman said Corinne is part of a line of dolls that “reflect what it means to be an American girl today.” The brand also partnered with AAPI Youth Uprising, an organization founded by middle schoolers to support positive change in their communities, including a day devoted to teaching Asian history and culture in schools.

Some Twitter users pointed out that the brand had previously introduced Asian characters into the American Girl universe, but had “retired” the characters. Ivy Ling, a Chinese American girl living in San Francisco in the 1970s, was removed from the company’s Historical Character line in 2014. A Korean American Girl doll named Z Yang was added in 2017, but has since been retired from the line. 

While Ivy was sold as a companion to her white best friend, Julie Albright, Corinne is a limited edition, feature doll and the first Asian American Girl of the Year.



Some other Twitter users commented on the new doll’s overwhelming story, which touches on racism, COVID-19, a divorce, and remarriage – that’s a lot to deal with for such a young girl. 

In an American Girl blog post, Shang explained she wrote Corinne’s story to help other people see themselves in the American girl line, as well as reflect on her own experiences. “I think when readers feel seen, they realize that they matter and their experiences matter, and that they are meant to be the stars of their own stories,” Shang wrote. 

The topics are an extremely relevant 2021 summary. A series of hate crimes in the early months of this year renewed the viral #StopAAPIHate and #StopAsianHate campaigns, started in 2020 after a rise in racist rhetoric against communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The campaigns brought together advocates, celebrities, and even major companies in supporting and protecting victims, their families, and the larger, nationwide community. 

Even if her days are spent on the slopes of Aspen, Corinne’s story introduces young kids to the harsh experiences of Asian American communities in the U.S. over the last two years. 

Shang’s books and the new Corinne doll are currently available for preorder online.

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