US doll maker American Girl unveiled its first South Asian "Girl of the Year" on December 29, 2022. Kavika (Kavi) Sharma is a gorgeous brown-eyed 12-year-old who loves to sing and dance. She dreams of starring on Broadway one day.
"Girl of the Year” dolls are different from other American Girl dolls. They are not based on American history. Instead they are modern dolls with diverse background stories that reflect the current time period.
Kavi's story is told through her journal, written by New York Times bestselling author Varsha Bajaj. The seventh-grader lives with her close-knit Indian American family in Metuchen, New Jersey. Like most kids her age, Kavi struggles to find a balance between her passion — performing on stage — and other priorities like schoolwork. Kavi's story will teach fans how to find a healthy rhythm in life. It will also inspire them to not shy away from following their dreams.
"Just like all our beloved characters, Kavi’s culturally relevant and aspirational stories help inspire kids to shine bright in their own way and be proud of who they are," said Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl.
In honor of Kavi's love for theater, American Girl will donate $25,000 to Camp Broadway's summer programs in New York. The funds will be used to pay for full and partial scholarships for kids ages 7 to 14.
Kavi is the first South Asian "Girl of the Year." But she is not American Girl's first South Asian character. That honor goes to Sonali Matthews, a companion character to 2009's "Girl of the Year," Chrissa Maxwell. Since 2001, the company has also released three other dolls of Asian descent.
Resources: CNN.com, Americangirldonlews.com, Businessinsider.com