American Girl

March 15th, 2011

This January, kicking off American Girl’s 25th birthday celebration, is the debut of Kanani Akina™, the 2011 Girl of the Year, whose story takes place in the lush tropical paradise of Hawai’i. A warm and cheerful girl, Kanani loves her town’s beautiful beaches, tropical sunsets, and fun lu’aus, but most of all, she and her family love sharing the aloha spirit—a desire to welcome and care for others with an open heart. Through Kanani, girls will discover that everyone has something to share that can make life better for someone else.


Kanani is available for one year and will launch with two books that tell her story, a beautiful 18-inch Kanani doll (featuring long, wavy medium-brown hair and hazel eyes), and an array of outfits and accessories such as a paddleboard set, a plush Hawaiian monk seal, and a shave ice stand!

Written by acclaimed author Lisa Yee, the 2011 Girl of the Year books—Aloha, Kanani and Good Job, Kanani—introduce readers to Kanani and her small seaside town on the island of Kaua’i. Kanani loves working in her family’s shave ice and sweet treats store, as well as sharing the wonders of Hawai’i with visitors. Whether she’s making her cousin from New York feel welcome on the island, helping rescue a baby Hawaiian monk seal, or assisting older people in her community, Kanani learns that by sharing herself and her home in the true aloha spirit, she is able to make life better for others. The back of each Kanani book features profiles of real girls who, like Kanani, discover the joy of helping others through their gifts and efforts, however small.

To share in the Hawaiian spirit of helping others, American Girl is partnering with the National Wildlife Federation to help raise awareness of endangered animals, like the Hawaiian monk seal featured in Kanani’s stories. With the purchase of every Kanani plush monk seal sold in 2011, American Girl is donating $1 (up to a maximum of $100,000) to NWF’s efforts to help children throughout the United States gain an appreciation and understanding for America’s most vulnerable animals through various educational programs and activities.

To further engage girls in Kanani’s world and her story’s inspirational message, American Girl is introducing the following products and activities in 2011:

* Lend a Hand: Girl-Sized Ways of Helping Others: A nonfiction companion advice book to the Kanani fiction series, Lend a Hand gives girls ideas and tips (both big and small) for making a difference at home, among their friends, in their community, and on the planet.

* Kanani Retail Events: Starting on January 1, girls can take part in Kanani-inspired events at American Girl retail stores nationwide, including demonstrations for dancing hula, free Hawaiian craft activities, and delicious Kanani-themed meals.

* Kanani and Me E-cards: From January 1 through April 15, 2011, girls can create and share their own Kanani-themed postcards at americangirl.com/girloftheyear and can be automatically entered (with parent’s permission) in a drawing to win a Kanani doll and book.