Meet Melody Ellison, a 9-year-old African-American girl who loves gardening, singing in the church choir, and listening to Motown music. Her story, No Ordinary Sound, is set in 1960s Detroit during the height of the Civil Rights movement. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches about equality, American Girl’s newest BeForever™ character picks “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for her very first solo performance. Change is in the air, and when the unspeakable happens in the Deep South, Melody’s voice is silenced. Can she recover it before her upcoming solo? Enter the book giveaway at the end of this blog post, and be among first to find out!
Most girls choose dolls that look like them. They want dolls that spark their imagination and inspire them in some way. Melody and I aren’t twinsies, but then again, I didn’t look like my beloved clothespin doll (Miss No Name), either. But we share the same name, and our stories are similar. Best of all, Melody Ellison’s built for adventures, just like me.
She arrived in her “meet” dress, accessorized here with a pillbox hat, cat-eye sunglasses, and a patent leather handbag.* Motown all the way, but ready for her adventures in La La Land.
We took a quick tour of my backyard first, because that’s what gardeners do. So flattering, the California sunshine on her beautiful hair and skin! I tucked some flowers into her handbag and then we headed to the beach.
Lovely view, don’t you think?
Melody opted quickly for a more casual look, ditching the handbag and slipping out of her patent leather flats.
She scrambled up the lifeguard stand…
…and splashed in frothy waves.**
Salty breezes tousled her hair, and her sunglasses slipped down her nose.
We explored the tide pools together, collecting sea glass and ocean-smoothed rocks.
Then we leaned against this outcropping, watching the surfers and listening to the seagulls.
Melody didn’t bring a beach hat, but she protected her curls with this fetching little number. A passerby pivoted, called over his shoulder: “Hey, isn’t that the doll I saw on the news? She smiled and waved, like the celebrity she is.
It was a memorable day, start to finish–lots to write and talk about when we got home!
We had so much fun on our beach adventure, and I can’t help but think that girls of all ages will fall in love with Melody Ellison.
Kudos to American Girl for designing this beautiful doll, who reflects so well the changing face of history. Author Denise Lewis Patrick should be congratulated, as well, for adding No Ordinary Sound to the growing collection of diverse books. Melody isn’t just a doll–she’s a phenomenon. In lifting her voice for positive change, she’ll inspire girls of all ages to do the same.
*American Girl collaborated with a six-member advisory board that provided input on all aspects of Melody’s appearance and storyline, including her outfits, accessories, hairstyle, historical events and settings.
And now for the book giveaway contest! You have until Labor Day to enter–good luck!