Tons of press releases on American Girl's 2022 Girl of the Year, Corinne Tan, have come out with a lot of facts and images of Corinne and her little sister Gwynn! Here they are:
Corinne struggles to both adjust to her new blended family and speak out about xenophobic comments regarding her Chinese heritage. Gwynn helps give Corinne the confidence she needs to speak out and advocate for herself at home and outside of it.
Both the 18-inch Corinne doll and the 14.5-inch Gwynn doll were created in consultation with the author of the Corinne books (which you can purchase Book 1 and Book 2 on Amazon here!), Wendy Wan-Long Shang, and a team of Colorado-based advisors, who weighed in on everything from ski safety to local knowledge to modern Chinese history. American Girl designers also worked with this team to hone the girls' physical appearances. In seeking authenticity and accuracy, they created several exclusive features, from hairstyle and skin tone to newly designed eyes.
Corinne looks forward to one day training her new puppy to become a search-and-rescue dog, and she wants to be a dog trainer when she grows up. In her story, Corinne navigates the struggles associated with her mother's remarrying and exploring her Chinese heritage. As Corinne realizes the power of love — in both her family and community — she learns home is not necessarily a place, but wherever she is surrounded by the people she loves and is most proud of. Corinne uses the bravery she has learned on the mountains to face her everyday issues, like adjusting to a new family dynamic and speaking out against xenophobic comments. A force for positive change, the story of Corinne teaches readers lessons in anti-racism as she displays empathy in the face of negativity.
Jamie Cygielman, the General Manager of American Girl, told Yahoo Life: "We pride ourselves on having a strong pulse on girls' lives today — from what they enjoy doing to the issues and concerns they face. Our goal at American Girl has always been to create stories, products, and experiences that support and encourage girls throughout childhood," she adds. "In our development process, we strive to reflect what is happening in culture and that can sometimes include more complex subjects and social issues: It's important for kids to see themselves in our storytelling or to learn about a life or culture that may be different from their own to help build empathy, courage, and conviction."
Wendy Wan-Long Shang said this about Corinne's books: "Stories are powerful. They can spark understanding and meaningful conversations and become catalysts for change. Corinne's experiences reflect the realities of the times — both good and bad, such as the unfortunate rise in anti-Asian sentiment across the U.S. since the pandemic. For young readers, this is an important validation for those who have experienced racism directly. I also hope that children who read these stories can see how they can be antiracism allies by speaking up or otherwise showing that racism is not okay."
She also had to say this about the divorce Corinne has to go through in her story: "Like many girls today, Corinne's family is evolving,” Shang explains. "Her parents are divorced and her mom is remarrying, which means there are a lot of changes to navigate at home. Corinne's story helps readers explore the process of family change," she adds. "The house she's lived in her whole life — with her mom, dad, and little sister Gwynn — isn't home anymore. About half of children in America experience a parent's remarriage and I hope they will be able to relate to the challenge of having to redefine the meaning of home."
To support Corinne's mission of helping girls understand anti-Asian hate and put a stop to it, American Girl partnered with the youth-led organization AAPI Youth Rising, which was founded and led by 13-year-old Mina Fedor, which calls for more education about Asian American history in order to combat racism and xenophobia. About working with American Girl, Mina said, "As youth, we are writing our own futures, and it is our responsibility to lead the way by making our voices heard. We must share our hopes, dreams, and ideas to make this world a better place. Although youth may feel like our voices don't make a difference, they do. It's amazing how small actions and speaking up about things that you believe in can inspire change. Many of us have grown up with American Girl and loved the dolls and reading the stories, so it's extra-special to be working with them on this new character who is Chinese American."
In conjunction with the release of Corinne, American Girl has donated $25,000 toward the ONE/180 pledge, which asks schools to include one classroom lesson a school year devoted to Asian American and Pacific Island culture and history.
Additional content for Gwynn will be released throughout the year on an all-new American Girl TikTok as well as on YouTube, including a music video from Corinne and Gwynn.