My children are still very young, so I haven't introduced them to the American Girl franchise quite yet, but I simply love what the brand has done to bring together dolls, history, and culture. Learning through play, always a win!!
I didn't know about American Girls when I was young, so I'm especially excited by the prospect of discovering them with my own kids soon! I got a jump start on that today through a sponsored campaign with KidzVuz and Amazon Studios to screen and promote the 3rd American Girl Story Amazon Original Special, premiering this week!
Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story - Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance is set to launch on Amazon Video this Friday, March 24 in the US, UK, Germany, and Austria!
In this 43 minute long video, we follow 10 year old Ivy in San Francisco as she struggles to understand and embrace her Chinese roots: feeling ashamed when her mother speaks Chinese to her in public, not wanting to spend her Saturdays in Chinese school, wanting to eat pizza instead of Chinese food, wondering why no one in her magazines looks like her... Her struggle comes to a head when her big gymnastics meet is on the same night as a huge Chinese New Year dinner her family will be hosting.
At the same time, Ivy's best friend Julie is also struggling - her parents have recently divorced and she is faced with the turmoil of going back and forth between homes every few days, and having a sibling angry at her for spending weekends with their father.
While this story takes place in 1976, the issues brought up are timeless and certainly present in many homes these days. Ivy's story especially hit home for me - my husband is Japanese and we're trying to raise our children to embrace both of our languages and cultures, however our 4 year old is already starting to push back against going to Japanese school and speaking Japanese. Watching this video, I caught a glimpse of the struggle our family has in store. However, I was able to gain valuable insight into the child's perspective, as well as the parents', and it was truly enlightening.
Even if your family cannot personally relate to the struggles of Ivy or Julie, certainly your children have friends and classmates who can. In Happy Balance you can learn a lot of fascinating things about Chinese and Chinese-American culture, including various traditions surrounding Chinese New Year. But on a grander scale, you can start to understand the struggles immigrants in America often face - leaving everything behind to start a new (hopefully better) life, often feeling like a "foreigner" rather than being accepted as American, and struggling to find the balance between preserving their old culture and embracing the new one. It's certainly a good reminder for me of things my own husband is silently dealing with!
I honestly recommend watching this together with your children and having an open conversation during and afterward. It's a great way to help them understand both your own family and the community you are a part of!
(Spoiler alert: Ivy and Julie both find ways to resolve their problems and there is a happy ending, without parents having to force an opinion or decision on them, yay!!!)
An American Girl Story - Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance will be available for Amazon Prime members to stream on Amazon Video starting Friday, March 24. If you don't already have Amazon Prime, you can get a free 30-day Prime trial here!! And check out the trailer below!!
This post was sponsored by KidzVuz for Amazon Studios, however all opinions are my own.
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!