Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Welcome American Girl Caroline Abbott: Book Review, Signings, Events & Give Aways

Here at ChiIL Mama, we were super stoked for September, because we got to welcome the newest American Girl historical Doll, Caroline.   But the fun doesn't stop there!   October brings Caroline book signings, cute Halloween doll costumes, Caroline's celebration dinners, a meet n greet with the author of the historical Molly books, a Caroline hero video contest, and so much more!

**We're very excited that the author of the Caroline books, Kathleen Ernst, will signing at the Chicago store October 13th from 1:00pm-3:00pm.**

We were lucky to catch an early sneak peek at her Meet Caroline book and eagerly raced through it.  This cliff hanger of a mystery drew us all in and left us wanting more.   We naturally had to pay a visit to our local, Chi-Town American Girl Place at Watertower and buy the sequel which we're enjoying now!

It's this view below that makes me wanna move in and live at American Girl Place!   I've been a book lover since I was a child, and seriously wish my real house looked like this, with a cool, two story, "book tree house".

Sure, the collector dolls and all their adorable accessories and sets are fun.   But, the American Girl books make me happy as a mom.   I trust them to get the details right, and provide entertaining, educational, quality stories that encourage the qualities I encourage in my own young girl.

The historical girl books are well researched, in fact, Kathleen Ernst, author of the Caroline books worked as a curator for Old World Wisconsin so she's got a rich store of knowledge of the past!   She's even written an adult mystery series set there.   For loads of cool history and background info about the Caroline books and the year 1812, we highly recommend checking out author Kathleen's blog right here.

My American Girl at Old World Wisconsin with 3 generations of our family.

We paid a visit to Kathleen Ernst's former workplace this summer, and we'll have a photo and video filled adventure feature right here at ChiIL Mama in the near future.   Old World Wisconsin was quite impressive and highly recommended.

Sagezilla wrote her first book report of the school year on Meet Caroline, complete with a cool, slick presentation on Prezi.    Here's her take on the book, as a nine year old girl.

Sage Words:

ChiIL Mama's take:

My daughter and I read Meet Caroline within days of each other and I was as engrossed in the story as she was.   It was fun to discuss the story together and speculate on how the tale continues.   Caroline's a smart, caring, brave little girl. She's got spunk and isn't afraid to speak up when she feels an injustice is going on.   When Caroline's father is captured by the British before they even got word that war had begun, the young girl finds herself at home with 3 generations of women.   She's relentless in her quest to bring her dad back home, and at the end of the first book she performs a selfless act and gives up something special and valuable to save her town.

At first I was a bit leery about the 1812 date, as choices and roles for women and girls were so much more restrictive then.   However, author Kathleen Ernst does a fabulous job of empowering her women and girls while still staying true to history.  After her father is taken prisoner, her mother steps up to run the shipyard and Caroline helps, despite some initial disbelief from locals that they could handle it.   Grandma, who lives with them, is wise and amazing, too, with valuable nuggets of insight for Caroline.

I was also a little concerned about the backdrop of war, but this series doesn't glamorize the conflict.   The focus is on the village and on worried people on both sides who fervently want peace.

We can't wait to read the rest of the series.   We just bought Caroline's Secret Message, the 2nd book.   As a mom, I'm thrilled my daughter's excited about reading and has found a strong role model in Caroline she can empathize with.   The historical American Girl books are a true gift, as they bring history alive, spark imagination, and personalize the past in a way that dry accounts and facts just don't do.   After reading Meet Caroline, my daughter is also now  jazzed to go to museums and historical sites to learn more about the early 1800's.   Works for me!

Caroline's Share the HERO in YOU! Video Story Contest

Have you ever had to be brave? Enter our contest by creating a video clip (up to 60 seconds) about a time you felt like an everyday hero. You can tell a story, re-create a moment, or even act out the scene with your doll. Ask your parent to upload your video here by October 31 for your chance to win.*
Then come back November 5 to vote for one of our six finalists and help choose the winner of our grand prize, which includes a trip for four to Washington, D.C.; an extra-special day at the American Girl store; a Caroline doll, books, and accessories set; plus a VIP tour of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to learn more about life in Caroline's day.


Check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   We have a special meet n greet with author Valerie Tripp through Priceless Chicago and Mastercard on 10/23.    She wrote all the books in the Felicity, Josefina, Kit, and Molly series and three of the books in the Samantha series!   She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and will be coming to town to have brunch with a lucky group of Chi-Town moms and daughters.   Check out more about Valerie Tripp here.     We'll have a photo filled feature for you after our brunch on 10/23.

We're extra excited to meet Valerie, since we just bought 4 American Girl DVDs and Sage has been using her own "helpful works money" to buy them.   We were pretty jazzed they were temporarily on sale for just $5 each instead of $15.    It worked out perfectly since $5 is exactly what she earns each week.   She just watched Kit, Samantha & Molly's movies and is now eagerly reading three Molly books, though Kit is her favorite.   Her grandparents still live in Cincinnati, where Kit is from, and her grandma grew up there during the late 1930's and 40's, not too long after the time Kit's books and movie take place.

We have lots of exciting American Girl features coming including book reviews, author interviews, a photo filled Cafe Birthday party feature, monster cake fun from the fall American Girl magazine, and much more. 

**Thanks to American Girl for sending us books, magazines and dolls to review and give away to our readers.    All opinions expressed are our own and we are not financially compensated.

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