We have lots of entries, and wow, your comments really touched our hearts. Thank goodness it’s a drawing and not an essay contest—it would’ve been impossible to pick one entry over another! So now, without further ado: Payton and her brother Logan created this video to announce the winning entry!
Here’s what our winner wrote about Luciana Vega:
She’s a beautiful doll that both of my daughters would love. I’m glad to see a girl that’s into space and science which my oldest daughter loves. She loves her story has read the book already and would love the have the doll! It’s wonderful to see a doll that can inspire young girls to go into the space and science industry. This why I love American girl! My daughter is into space right now had her own star chart, this past week she was telling me about worm holes. Fingers crossed that we can get a chance to welcome her into our home!
Congratulations Erin Wyllie! Please send your mailing address to me, so I can pass it along to American Girl. They’ll ship your Luciana doll to you directly, so be sure you put out the welcome mat for her!
Yes, I know. This weekend’s really all about The Royal Wedding. A fairy tale, for sure! Did you watch it in real time, like I did? Without a doubt, my Nana of Nottingham would’ve enjoyed all the pageantry and hoopla. And how much did we love that Prince Harry and Meghan Markel intertwined their unique stories into one–symbolic nods to the past, with subtle nudges toward the future.
We’re wishing the very best to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, of course. We wouldn’t dream of intruding on their fairy tale. But if you’ve reached your quota of tea and petit fours, I’m thinking we might chat about something else. Just for a little while, and then we can reprise it together. You see, I’m eager for you to meet two lovelies from this side of the Pond: American Girl’s Luciana Vega, and my new friend, Payton (who is, coincidentally, celebrating her 9thbirthday today).
Luciana (“Lucy”) skyrocketed to fame only just recently, as American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year. Like her American Girl counterparts, she arrived on the scene with an interesting backstory. In brief: She’s an aspiring astronaut of Chilean-American descent who dreams of being the first person to set foot on Mars. When she wins a scholarship to Space Camp, she makes lots of friends. She’s a little shaky in the self-confidence department, but as she explores the unknown, her self-confidence grows. Isn’t that always the way?
Lucy likes to push the boundaries of fashion, as you can see. Straight out of the box, she’s wearing a galaxy-print dress, holographic boots, and an edgy purple streak in her hair. Not included, but still covet worthy, our space traveler owns an entire wardrobe of STEM-inspired outfits and accessories, including a flight suit for intergalactic travel. Sweet, smart, creative, curious… Lucy’s destined to make her mark on this world (and perhaps other galaxies), same as our birthday girl.
Lucky me, I was invited by AG to introduce this newest superstar to you. But when I was hobbled by a foot injury, I decided to loan my Cinderella slippers to Payton. She’s been my blogging assistant for this project, escorting Lucy around town and then reporting back.
Images say far more than words sometimes….so let’s do a recap of their adventures.
On warm afternoons, they enjoyed lounging by the pool with AG’s boy character doll, Logan. (Payton’s grandmother made Lucy’s swimsuit.)
They also filled JoyJars® for the Jesse Reese Foundation. Over the course of a “Year of Joy,” kids diagnosed with cancer (and their family members) receive these treasure troves. It’s a labor of love, the gift of joy–an ongoing tribute to Jessie Reese, who created the Never Ever Give Up (aka: NEGU®) campaign while she was battlng brain cancer. Volunteers like Payton help keep Jessie’s wish alive.
No word on whether Payton learned to moon walk, but she returned with lots of fun stories to share.
Maybe Payton will become a space explorer, who knows? Maybe one day, inspired by Luciana Vega, she’ll be the first woman to walk on Mars.
To help encourage that futuristic way of thinking, American Girl created an entire galaxy of Luciana-themed adventures. They, in turn, were inspired by NASA’s missions to outer space. Scholastic’s in on the action, now. You’re invited, too! Space simulations, quizzes, photo challenges, Space Camp, book excerpts, STEM projects and more…you’ll find everything on the American Girl game app and website. Oh, the places we’ll go, when we let loose our imaginations!
And now…drum roll please!–here’s the scoop on our Luciana Vega doll giveaway contest.
One lucky person will win a Luciana Vega doll, provided by Mattel/American Girl. To qualify, you must answer at least one of these questions: 1) What do you like about Luciana Vega? or 2) What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever learned about space travel?
Type your entry into a comment box, below. Be sure your sign-in includes your name and email address, so I’ll know how to reach you. All entries must be submitted by midnight on Wednesday, May 23th, 2018 (Pacific). I’ll post the winning entry on Friday, May 25. Good lucky, everyone!
Meet Gabriela McBride, the 2017 addition to American Girl’s prestigious “Girl of the Year” lineup. The fourth African-American doll in their increasingly diverse line-up, Gabriela joins Melody Ellison, the black “BeForever” doll from Detroit, in making her debut on this blog.
Born into a family of artists in Philadelphia, Gabriela expresses herself through dance and poetry, both of which help her overcome her problems with stuttering. Like most American Girls, she eventually lifts her voice in support of a cause she believes in. Her active support helps save her beloved Community Arts Center.
Just so you know: Gabriela’s story comes to life in the companion book that bears her name. She has her own activity page, and–exciting news, right up her alley–American Girl is partnering with Scholastic on a special project in April to coincide with (and help celebrate) National Poetry Month! You can preview Gabriela’s first novel here; and if you enter the prize giveaway contest at the end of this blog post, you might find yourself among the five lucky winners who receive a free copy of her book!
What more can I tell you about Gabriela that isn’t immediately obvious? She has warm brown eyes and a sweet face, and oh, those signature curls! But best of all, for active girls like me: Gabriela’s built for adventure. I wanted to show her a special place in my community. Thanks to their gracious hospitality, we enjoyed an all-access tour of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
Rescue. Rehabilitation. Release. Research. PMMC does all of this and more, in support of marine animals stranded on beaches along the Orange County, California coast.
Most rescued pinnipeds are severely malnourished and dehydrated. Some have respiratory illnesses and other diseases; still others have injuries caused by fishing lines and hooks, human-inflicted wounds, shark bites, and parasites. This little girl was entangled in a gill net, but is well on her way to recovery.
Working hand-in-glove with trained volunteers, PMMC’s staff employ their special brand of magic. Lots of individuals, each contributing his or her unique talents–similar to what Gabriela experienced onstage at her beloved Community Arts Center.
Fun Fact: Dehydrated animals drink “fish milkshakes,” a customized blend of fish, Pedialyte, warm water, vitamins, and medication, fed directly into their’stomachs through flexible tubes. A typical “milkshake” costs anywhere from $4.00 to $5.00, and is oftentimes subsidized by generous donors. Of course, as soon as the animals are hydrated and stable, they are weaned onto whole fish–like the herring beside Gabriela, pictured above.
At PMMC, there’s plenty of space to swim, soak, snooze, and otherwise savor their temporary quarters.
While the average length of stay is three months, treatment plans depend on the nature of of each animal’s illness and injuries.
Direct contact is kept to a minimum, to help keep PMMC’s charges from getting too comfortable in their temporary quarters. Although the workers can get quite attached, their highest priority is the animal’s welfare and eventual release.
After visiting their treatment facility, we wandered through PMMC’s educational exhibits, where we learned more about marine life and the importance of preserving their natural habitats. Because the outdoor pool was occupied, we were able to watch three healthier, longer-term residents play tag and perform impromptu water ballets. (Webcam link, for future reference.)
Here at PMMC, you’ll make lots of new friends–returning locals, and visitors from all over the world! Heather Singer, for instance, who hails from Philadelphia. She came for the sea critters, but couldn’t resist a quick snapshot with Gabriela. Happy smiles, multiplied…
It was a really fun outing, and we plan to visit often. But nothing beat the excitement of watching PMMC’s rehabilitated animals swim out to sea again! Brought by rescuers into the Pacific Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Center in October 2016, two healthy sea lions– “Cave Woman” and “Struggles” –made their way back to the ocean in late January. They stole the show, rushing out of their crates, and when they reached the water’s edge…well, just watch it. Your hearts will grow three sizes, I promise you.
Here’s Gabriela again, saying goodbye and good luck to her new friends.
And now for the book giveaway contest! All you have to do is add a comment to this entry, answering one of two questions:
1) What do you like best about the Gabriela Doll? or
2) What impresses you most about the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach, California?
You have until midnight on Valentine’s Day to enter. Good luck!