American Girl's 2009 Girl of the Year Doll Says No to Bullies

Filed under: Toys

American Girl Doll Chrissa American Girl is launching a new Girl of the Year doll for 2009; she's spunky and sassy and she's teaching girls to stick up for themselves. But she's only available for a short time, so put her on your shopping list now.

Chrissa is the seventh in a series of Girl of the Year contemporary characters whose interests and concerns mirror those of real American girls. The doll, which will be released in January of 2009, will only be available for one year. American Girl is also producing two tie-in books, Chrissa and Chrissa Stands Strong, both written by award-winning author Mary Casanova. The books focus on how ten-year-old Chrissa Maxwell deals with bullying after moving and starting at a new school. Each Chrissa book includes discussion questions designed to foster conversation between kids and parents, and to encourage girls to stand up for themselves.

In addition, as part of the Chrissa promotion, American Girl is also introducing a non-fiction book for girls,
Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way. The book includes girl-friendly tips and quizzes, and stories of real girls who have overcome bullying.

Chrissa will launch on New Year's Day with two books, an 18-inch Chrissa doll, a line of accessories, and two 18-inch friend dolls. And for the first time ever, American Girl will launch its new Girl of the Year with a feature film, An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong, available on DVD from HBO Home Entertainment on January 6, 2009. For more information about American Girl dolls and the Girl of the Year, visit

Gift Guide: Best and Worst

    Edible Cookie Play Dough, $33
    "They were fun to make and looked good once they were baked," said one parent-tester. "My daughter liked them and is still eating them." You might find the idea gross but kids will love it. Finally, a Play-Doh you can eat.

    Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register, $36
    "The best gifts in my book have been the one that encourage interaction," wrote one mom. "One that comes to mind is a toy cash register." Kids can spend hours ringing up purchases, counting bills and coins, and making change, never catching on that they're actually learning mathematics.


    font color="#2864b4">Zoom-o Xtreme Giant Disc Launcher, $30
    This is a great toy that will keep kids and adults busy for hours. The discs fly up to the ceiling and gently float back down. Best of all, it's kid-powered so there are no batteries to buy and no environmental impact. We keep a few around as emergency gifts -- and it's good for boys and girls.


    The Dangerous Book for Boys, $18
    A gift of books encourages reading and shows that you believe in the power and importance of the written word. Quite a few parents said they like their children to receive books, citing the educational value and reasonable size as factors.


    LEGO Deluxe Brick Box
    , $45
    Despite having a lot of pieces, the classic "big box o'LEGO's" spurs creativity and problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking skills. Plus, this set comes with its own storage bin. In theory, at least, you don't have to worry about finding pieces everywhere.


    LeapFrog LeapPad Learning System, $70
    "One of our favorites is the Leap Frog LeapPad that allowed my daughter to 'read' and problem solve independently," said one mother. These sorts of toys might seem like electronic overkill, but they really can be engaging -- and they're great for road trips.


    Barney Slippers for Toddlers, $12
    "It was awful," said a well-meaning grandmother. "I knew my grandson wanted Barney slippers, but I got the wrong ones. He started crying, said it was for girls, and ran out of the room. I felt terrible." Make sure, if it matters to the kid, that you get boy toys for boys and girl toys for girls.


    MGA Bratz The Movie Funky Fashion Makeover, Cloe, $21
    Some parents don't have a problem with dolls with unrealistic proportions or are dressed in highly suggestive outfits. A lot do. "I wouldn't let something like that into my home," sniffed one mother. "It's just not appropriate."


    Moon Sand Treasure Kingdom
    , $20
    One mom told me that this is a gift that parents hate but kids love. After all, it is basically sand. "If your kids ever get 'moon sand' from us," wrote one dad, "what I'm really saying is that I want to annoy you as much as I possibly can."


    3-Piece Junior Children's/Kids Starter Drum Set, $140
    If you really want to make a parent upset, give their kid a gift that makes noise, the louder the better. The ultimate such gift, of course, is a drum set. What makes that so bad is that your kids will want to make you proud of them so they'll play it day and night. All day and all night.


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.