While in San Jose at the Gymnatics Olympic Trials, my seven-year-old daughter and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jade Pettyjohn, star of the American Girl movie McKenna Shoots for the stars. Of course, my daughter (who loves American Girl dolls and gymnastics) was completely thrilled about the movie, and about talking to Jade. For her first time interviewing someone, she did a great job, and Jade was very sweet to her. It was just like a conversation between two friends. The whole experience was right in line with the message of American Girl dolls: celebrating young girls and their unique strengths and abilities.
Jade does an amazing job playing McKenna. And just because it's fun to compare, here is a photo of Jade Pettyjohn wearing the McKenna outfit (available for purchase at the American Girl store) in a scene from the movie:
And here is a pic of the actual doll:
Each character American Girl doll comes a book and has her own story. The stories focus on the character's individual strengths and how she helps others or overcomes challenges. The dolls look like young girls (they aren't overly made up or unrealistic) and send positive messages, both in their clothing/accessory options and their stories. Also, young girls will love visiting the American Girl website to take McKenna's Take the Challenge strength quiz.
The quiz asks questions to determine three main personality strengths. At the end, girls can click on each of their main strengths, or any from a list of other strengths, and find ideas for activities to help them develop that strength even further -- things like: make a card for someone who is sick or lonely, or sketch a self-portrait or caricature. If you're looking for something for the kids to do on a summer day, the ideas are options both parents and kids will love.
(Photos © Universal/American Girl)
Disclosure: Universal provided travel and expenses for the trip to the Olympic gymnastics trials to interview Jade. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.