It’s not about the retail: Local school uses American Girl for history, life lessons

WASHINGTON – Several years ago, Beverly Vick received an American Girl book from a friend.

The first grade teacher at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., had no interest in reading the book, and even less interest in the American Girl empire — an industry of books, dolls and accessories that originated in 1986.

She planned to just look at the first chapter of the book about a character named Addy Walker, a young girl living in the age of the Civil War. But despite Vick’s intentions, she “went right through the book” in one sitting.

“I, too, am African American, and I started reading her stories and realized that it was rich historical fiction,” says Vick, Ph.D.

Now, she leads an American Girl club for first-through fourth-grade-students at MacArthur, an afterschool group she created almost 10 years ago.

Vick says she fell in love with the books for their historical accuracy and for the characters: animated young girls whose lessons and adventures transcend decades, sometimes centuries.

“I realized

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