American Girl, a cornerstone brand in toy company Mattel’s portfolio, has unveiled its 2023 Girl of the Year, Kavi Sharma, whose character is Indian American and hails from Metuchen.
According to American Girl, “whether it’s singing show tunes or learning new dance moves, Kavi loves performing. And, growing up with her close-knit Indian American family in New Jersey, she’s only a short train ride from her two favorite places in the world: New York City and Broadway! While Kavi shines onstage, keeping up with her offstage priorities like schoolwork, friendships, and family responsibilities can be a challenge—just like it is for so many kids today. Through Kavi, young readers will learn the importance of finding a healthy rhythm in life and feel inspired to pursue their own unique talents and reach for their dreams.”
Kavi joins the company’s long line of contemporary characters, introduced more than 20 years ago, that represent a wide range of backgrounds to reflect what it means to be an American girl today.
“As we ring in a new year, we’re excited to have Kavi Sharma take center stage in our popular Girl of the Year lineup,” says Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl. “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.”
To create Kavi’s story, American Girl worked with New York Times bestselling author Varsha Bajaj (Thirst and Count Me In). Kavi’s story is shared in both an illustrated paperback journal that comes with the doll and a hardcover novel, It’s Showtime, Kavi, debuting later in 2023.
According to Bajaj, “Kavi’s story is important to all the young readers who will see parts of their lives represented. I took immense delight in showcasing slivers of Indian culture, including dance, yoga traditions, food, clothing, and magical festivals like Diwali and Holi.” In addition to Bajaj, a team of advisers also helped with Kavi’s development, providing real-world insights and weighing in on key product and story themes to ensure authenticity and accuracy.
To support young performers like Kavi, American Girl is partnering with the Broadway Education Alliance’s Camp Broadway, a cultural enrichment program that makes theater arts accessible and relevant for kids, helping them discover their unique talents and boost their confidence. American Girl is donating $25,000 to fund full and partial scholarships for kids participating in the camp’s 2023 summer program in New York City.
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