Congratulations, Marjorie! And thanks, everyone, for your encouraging words on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and (of course) my blog entry about Logan Elliot! I know you won’t be surprised when I tell you that Logan’s already got quite the fan base on social media, and has captured the hearts of many.
There’s a first time for everything, they say. First steps, first words, first day of school, the first time you wish upon a star, or see a whale spouting water from its blowhole. It wasn’t my topmost priority, but I added that last item to my bucket list when Dana Point’s annual Festival of Whales rolled around again last week and (drumroll, please) American Girl debuted their first-ever boy doll!
Meet Logan Everett, a drummer from Nashville, Tennessee. He shares the stage with Tenney Grant, an aspiring country singer who rocks a banjo and guitar. Logan’s “play loud” T-shirt helps telegraph his strong personality. Good for Logan, taking his place in the spotlight! A star turn by American Girl, don’t you think? More on that later, plus a book giveaway contest!
I applaud American Girl for reaching beyond the tried-and-true, expanding their 31-year-old brand to include boy dolls and all that implies. And I got to thinking: If they could muster up that kind of courage, so could I! I’d turn doubt on its ear, twist one of my own fears toward the positive. Hey, I’d even announce my plans on social media. You know, for accountability’s sake.
I picked my knees-knocking, stomach-churning fear of drowning in the deep, blue sea. It comes of a near-death experience in my childhood, but hey, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m willing to face my fears head-on and say, “You aren’t the boss of me!” That’s what I was thinking, anyway, when I booked myself on Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale-watching Safari. Logan would join me, of course. Go big, or go home, am I right?
No surprise, I was the last one to board. After scoping out all the potential danger zones, I eventually settled myself onto a cushy bench inside the catamaran, where I was less likely to be tossed overboard. Thisclose to the life preserver, I might add. Which, by the way, has never been used. But there’s always a first time, am I right?
Now, I’m not a back-row person by nature, so it wasn’t long before I was craning my neck to see what was happening on deck. I wanted to among the first to see a whale’s fluke, and to hear the sea lions bark! So I took some long, deep breaths, grabbed my camera, and inched myself toward the bow of the Manute’a.
Relax, I told myself. And oh hey, isn’t that sea spray refreshing!
I came prepared with ginger drops and Dramamine. I white-knuckled the handrail, more times than I’d like to admit. And when I leaned forward to take these snapshots, I imagined myself tumbling headlong into Davy Jones’ Locker. But! I took the plunge anyway, and wheeee, was it ever worth it!
It’s a courageous thing, too, that American Girl introduced a boy doll in a traditionally girl-oriented market. Tangible proof of their commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. They’ve been stepping in that direction for a while now, creating dolls from different ethnic backgrounds as well as dolls with special challenges. In fact, their 2017 Girl of the Year Doll, Gabriela McBride, is a black girl from Philly who stutters, loves poetry and dance. But Logan Elliot is the face of something entirely new. Another first. He’ll be cherished by children who see themselves reflected in his personality and physical make-up, and he’ll also find a home with kids who are brave enough to stretch their boundaries a bit.
Smart marketing? No question. But let’s not overthink this. American Girl is leading with their hearts—the very definition of courage. And by extension, they’re inviting us to share the rewards. That’s how it works, isn’t it? When we move beyond any self-imposed limitations, we connect with everything beautiful, pure, and true in the world. We come away with bigger dreams. We tell better stories. Oh, and if you’re especially lucky on a given day, you’ll carry home one of Mrs. Capt. Dave’s triple-fudge brownies. So yummy, you’ll wanna give another go.
*BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST:Share with us your thoughts about Logan by midnight on March 16th, and you’ll be automatically entered to win one set of books (TENNEY andTENNEY IN THE KEY OF FRIENDSHIP). American Girl is donating the prize to the winner, who will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day. Luck o’ the Irish to you!
Here’s a sneak-peek of Logan’s first storyline, from TENNEY IN THE KEY OF FRIENDSHIP:
Thanks to her bandmate, a drummer named Logan Everett, Tenney learns the importance of collaboration and compromise. When she’s paired with Logan for a major performance, she faces the challenge of letting others add to her creative voice without sacrificing her sound.
And oh hey! I found two great interviews with the author, Kellen Hertz, here and here.