I’m a pretty big fan of American Girl, and in more ways than one. The dolls are adorable, and I enjoy sewing their clothes, and I really support the message they send to girls- be true to yourself.
Every year, AG releases a Girl of the Year (GOTY). This year it’s McKenna Brooks, fourth-grade gymnast who suffers and injury. McKenna also struggles with reading, and when her tutor, who is in a wheelchair, helps her out, McKenna makes a new friend.
My question is, when will the girl in the proverbial wheelchair be the star? When will she be the GOTY?
My friend S’s mom (S has autism) wrote to AG and suggested a future, autistic, GOTY. AG’s response was that they only take ideas from their own staff, and that, basically, everyone wants a girl with their disability, and they can’t please everyone. Now, we could argue how autism is one of the most common disabilities out there, and all that jazz, or we could say, you’re missing the point, AG. The point is that you make a girl with any disability the star of the show.
Since it sounds like we might be waiting a while for that to happen, my friend S and I took things into our own hands. She chose a doll as I wrote a story, and between the two of us, we’ve come up with Scarlet, a 9-year-old girl with autism. American Girls are introduced in a first book entitled Meet ______, and so, I wrote Meet Scarlet in five chapters. I’ll post them here, one every other day (as best as I can remember!) over the next ten days or so. The doll we chose to represent Scarlet is the Felicity doll, if you know who she is, so you can keep her face in mind as you read Scarlet’s story.
“No thank you!” shouted Scarlet Mead, for what must have been the seventeenth time that day. And it was only eight in the morning! She grabbed the sparkly, glittery shirt from her mom’s hand and threw it to the floor.
“I heard you, Scarlet,” replied her mother, pushing back her hair and a little frustrated. “But what shirt do you want to wear to school?
Scarlet proceeded to her closet and pulled a green shirt off the hanger. Mom helped her put it on. Scarlet looked miserable and this was probably due to the fact that all she really wanted was to wear pink! Pretty in pink, she thought. How come, she wondered, every time I really, really like something, I throw it to the floor? Scarlet loved dolls and books, but both found themselves face down on the ground anytime they came to her. She wondered if maybe her favorite things were just somehow too good, too much to handle, and therefore they got discarded before they could overwhelm her.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Scarlet’s Voice. All proceeds go toward service dog fundraising!