American Girl Introduces Read-a-palooza! and Partners with Save the Children #Giveaway

American Girl introduces “Read-a-palooza!” this summer!  This summer, American Girl is inviting girls and moms to discover the joy of reading while helping a great cause! Read-a-palooza provides girls with fun activities and incentives to inspire them to keep their reading skills sharp and encourage engagement in a variety of different literacy activities! In addition, Read-a-palooza will be contributing to Save the Children through a book purchase donation. Starting May 1 through September 3, $1 from every book purchased from American Girl will benefit Save’s U.S. Literacy Program.

My daughter spends much of her awake time reading.  More often not, her tiny little nose is tucked into a book.  I frequently find her sleeping with an open book on her chest in bed, having fallen asleep mid-chapter.  It makes my heart happy to see she loves books as much as her mama does.  Some of her favorite books have been from the American Girl collection, and it’s no surprise- each is well done, well written, and engaging and entertaining throughout.  Her current favorite books are the Innerstar University books that remind me so much of the “choose-your-own-adventure-books” from when I was little.  (You can unlock even more adventures online with codes at the end of each book!)

I have even noticed some of the “Advice” books from American Girl at our pediatrician office.  The advice books are still a bit “old” for my daughter but I know that probably in just a few months, I will be suggesting we look at them together.  While we work hard to have open dialogue with the kids, I know that sometimes it will be helpful to have books to help with our discussions.

One lucky reader will win a Read-a-palooza Prize Pack from American Girl!  To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize Pack will include

Our two 2012 Girl of the Year books:
McKenna and McKenna Ready to Fly
Price: $6.95 each
The nonfiction advice book, Take the Challenge
Price: $9.95
Nonfiction advice book, A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself
Price: $9.95
The Innerstar University Book (these are “choose your own ending” books), Behind the Scenes
Price: $8.95
A Cecile Mystery, The Cameo Necklace
Price: $6.95

This giveaway is open to residents in US and Canada.






We’ve had McKenna Brooks for several months now, and my daughter is still head over heels (gymnastics reference intentional) for her.   Now that there’s a trailer for McKenna’s movie, there’ll be even more McKenna talk in my house!!  I don’t mind because I love the messages sent throughout her story- being strong, focusing on our own strengths, being a good friend…

Meet McKenna Brooks, a determined and confident young gymnast, in this all-new modern-day adventure. McKenna is on track to make the regional competitive gymnastics team but off-track in school, where she’s suddenly struggling to keep up.  When her teacher suggests a tutor, she’s embarrassed and desperate to keep it a secret from her friends. Then a bad fall at the gym sidetracks her from her favorite sport.  Will she recover in time to make the team? Can she succeed in school, too?  McKenna needs to focus on her strengths to overcome her challenges – and, with the help of family and friends, find a way to believe in herself again.

 Just in time for the Summer Games, this fun family film on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD is available only at Wal-Mart, American Girl® retail stores and  A must-own addition for American Girl® fans, the film can also be purchased via Digital Download through a variety of online retailers. Scheduled to Air on Saturday July 14, 2012 at 8/7c on NBC

American Girl has some great new books out!

Remember the choose your own adventure books when you were a kid?  I do- I thought they were great fun- and made re-reading books that much more fun!  The folks at American Girl have some out with some new books- the Innerstar University Books– in which the girls themselves become the main character of the book as they choose paths throughout the book that can lead to 20 different endings.  Each of these books focuses on key values- 9 of them in total- encouraging girls to be confident, smart and teaching them about friendship, kindness, bravery and more.

In “The New Girl,”  each reader can imagine herself as the main character of this interactive story set in the world of Innerstar University™! She thinks Zoé, the new girl, is brave for coming all the way from her home in France. She wants to get to know Zoé, but she also feels a bit jealous about all the attention the new arrival is getting. When a couple of girls start to tease Zoé, she feels torn—can she find the courage to speak up for what she knows is right? With more than 20 different endings, girls will enjoy this book again and again to see how different decisions change the story. Plus, each book comes with a secret access code to unlock additional endings online! 120 pages. Paperback. Author: Laurie Calkhoven. Ages 8+

The Hidden Gold: A Marie-Grace Mystery holds just enough mystery to keep her interest piqued, but not so much that she’ll be scared.  This series is a cute way to introduce mysteries to your little girl!

Marie-Grace can’t wait to begin her journey up the Mississippi River with her father. The steamboat they’re traveling on is the biggest and fanciest boat Marie-Grace has ever seen. It’s crowded with all sorts of interesting passengers, including Wilhelmina Newman, a girl Marie-Grace’s age. Wilhelmina is traveling alone, and she’s carrying a secret in one of her trunks—clues to hidden Gold Rush treasure. Wilhelmina and Marie-Grace have to unravel the clues to find the gold—and they’re not the only ones looking for it! An illustrated “Looking Back” essay provides facts about the 1850s. 150 pages.Paperback. Author: Sarah Masters Buckey. Ages 9+

There’s also A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself which I wish had been around when I was a young girl.  My oldest is a bit young for this content but I have it tucked away for a few years from now.  Self esteem is a tough one for me and I want to help my daughters and my son to develop a strong and positive self esteem!

Has a bad day got her down? In this advice-packed book, girls will learn how high self-esteem can turn a good day into a great day, while low self-esteem can make a bad day even worse. She’ll learn tips for trusting herself, ideas for boosting her self-esteem (or for keeping it up), and how to feel her best in all kinds of situations. She is perfect just as she is, and this book will help her believe that to be true! 96 pages. Paperback. Author: Dr. Laurie Zelinger. Ages 10+


You can find these books on the American Girl website and in many major bookstores online and in “brick and mortar” stores.  I love the positive messages these books are sending.


I received samples of these books to thank me for taking the time to share this information.  Opinions are my own.

American Girl of the Year 2012 McKenna Brooks Prize Pack #Giveaway

McKenna Girl of the YearWe “met” McKenna Brooks a few weeks ago, just before 2012 began.  The American Girl of theMcKenna Year for 2012, we love her- as so many others do.  We not only love McKenna for the beautiful doll that she is (and she’s gorgeous, very well loved in this house, and I’d love to have her hair color!!) but also for her great books.  While we’ve not read McKenna: Ready to Fly just yet, although we’ve been going through Take the Challenge and my daughter has read the McKenna book cover to cover at least 5 times since the book arrived a week or two before Christmas.

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*Closed*McKenna Brooks: American Girl Doll of the Year 2012 #Giveaway #Win

Come January 1, 2012, American Girl fans everywhere will be able to meet McKennaTM Brooks, at 10 year old gymnast who struggles with a balance between- well, the balance beam, and her schoolwork.  The Girl of the Year® McKenna doll, books and accessories will only be available until the end of 2012.  This is very smart timing for American Girl, given that 2012 is a Summer Olympics year and that should generate even more interest in yet another gorgeous doll friend from AG.

McKenna, aged 10, finds herself falling behind with her reading comprehension and discovering more talents and strengths in herself that she didn’t know she had.   She gets hurt and ends up in a cast- and has to work even harder, and learns some great life lessons along the way.

McKenna was introduced to us a few weeks ago, when a surprise package showed up with a copy of McKenna and Take the Challenge: Crazy Challenges and Silly Thrills to Explore Your Talents and Everyday Skills.

My daughter tore through McKenna (penned by Mary Casanova) in one sitting (she seems to have my love of reading) and has asked me at least 2 dozen times when I’ll find a copy of McKenna, Ready to Fly! for her to read.  The Take the Challenge book has been a lot of fun- for both of us- and I’m still (and likely always will be) the reining champ of doing things with my feet and toes in my house.  We haven’t gone through the entire book of challenges but I love the huge range of challenges, from the super silly to more serious, and, most importantly, the kids will too!!

To our delight, McKenna herself arrived at our house on Friday afternoon, and with some quick juggling, we decided that this would be a wonderful surprise for our oldest for Christmas.  We actually sent her home with my niece for the big S to leave under my sister’s tree, to be found with a few things for her siblings Christmas night.  My Busy girl knows that McKenna isn’t “here” yet and was beyond excited that she got to meet her before anyone else. [click to continue…]

American Girl Holiday Dresses

Trying to get a photo of three small children is no easy feat.

Do you know what’s more fun to my girls than having fancy Christmas dresses? Having fancy Christmas dresses that match their beloved Holly and Annabelle dolls!! American Girl sent us a dress for each of the girls plus the matching dress for their dolls. To say the girls were smitten is, to say the least, an understatement.

For my older daughter, we got the Merry & Bright Outfit for Girls and for Dolls. It’s pretty, it’s shimmery, flowy, and, key for my daughter, is twirly. All the key features in a dress my child looks for, and for me? Well, it’s pretty, modest, and very well made. I know that my girls will both wear this dress, and we’ll then pass it along to another family to enjoy, with no worry of it fading nor falling apart. American Girl is not an inexpensive brand by any means but it is definitely all good quality.   There is even a beautiful capelet that you can get with this (to my daughter’s disappointment, we do not have this.  Perhaps Santa may drop it off?) to complete the holiday look.  This dress is absolutely gorgeous.  I’m a little jealous.  [click to continue…]

*HOT* American Girl 25% off Sale- Limited Time

Friends, it isn’t often you see that you can purchase an American Girl doll at a discount.  Well, from now until November 13th you can save 25% on the newest Historical Collection dolls Cecile & Marie-Grace– and everything in their “world” too!  If you remember in August, we received each of these dolls for review, and they are gorgeous, and with a 25% off discount, dolls you do not want to pass up the opportunity to have in your house!  Each of the girls has her own story, but intertwined with the others.  I grew up loving the Little House series of books (and shows) and the story of these two friends just reminds me so much of how I felt reading and experiencing the Little House stories…and I’m excited I can share that with my girls.  Busy B and I have been reading the “Meet Cecile” book together and will be reading through all six of the books that tell the full story of Cecile and Marie-Grace. 

Don’t forget to go through Shop at Home to get 2% cash back- that’s an even bigger savings!! 

To take BEST advantage of this deal: [click to continue…]

American Girl: Cécile & Marie-Grace Boxed Set (Giveaway)

In August, American Girl introduced us to Cecile and Marie-Grace, two friends that I fell in love with instantly, and have been enjoying reading about with my oldest ever since.  The girls are from New Orleans circa 1853 and while they are from different walks of life, the stories of their friendship bond them together.  We are taking our time going through these books about Cecile and Marie-Grace, because my daughter is on the younger side  for these books and she’s asking a lot of questions about the historical parts of the stories, which are woven throughout each.  The books are very well written and give a vivid picture of what life must have been like for the girls and their families.   [click to continue…]

Come meet American Girl’s newest Historical Characters

Meet Cecile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner.  They are here, in my house, and they are beautiful.  These two lovely girls are the newest Historical Characters by American Girl, and they are unique in that this is the first time the company has introduced 2 historical characters at the same time.  They are available for preorder now and will be in stores and online on August 30th.  There are Charity Balls being held in celebration of the girls’ arrival in several cities, and they have inspired Harry Connick Jr. to write a song that his daughter has sung, the sales of which go to benefit the Ellis Marsalis Music Center in New Orleans.  Part of the proceeds from the Balls will be going to the center as well.

The girls are from New Orleans circa 1853, friends despite their differences, and each comes with a book introducing them and their story, plus there are 4 more books that share the tale of these two friends who overcome so much to save their families, friends, and beloved city of New Orleans.   [click to continue…]

American Girl Hosts Cecile & Marie-Grace Charity Ball August 29th in Boston & Other Cities

Cécile & Marie-Grace Charity Ball

You and your girl can be among the first to celebrate our newest historical characters—Cécile Rey and Marie-Grace Gardner! Your girl is invited to wear her fanciest dress to this benefit party inspired by the costume balls of 1850s New Orleans. Enjoy a delicious meal, learn ballroom dance steps, make fun crafts, and more! Plus, a portion of the proceeds from this event helps support after-school programming at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans.

Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.  [click to continue…]