American Girl’s 2013 Girl of the Year is Saige Copeland, a 9-year-old fourth-grader who loves painting and horseback riding at her grandmother’s ranch in Albequerque, N.M., the U.S. hot-air balloon hotspot. The 18-inch doll has freckles, long-auburn hair and turquoise eyes. The doll, which comes with a paperback book called “Saige” by Jessie Haas, is $110.
Here’s Saige’s story, as explained in her book: Because of funding cuts, Saige won’t have art, jer favorite subject, in school this year. Saige responds by organizing a “save the arts” parade fundraiser, training her horse Picasso to perform in it.
Saige’s collection also includes two more books: “Saige Paints the Sky” by Jessie Haas (hardcover $12.95, paperback $6.95) and “Express Yourself: Use Art to Explore the Emotions Inside You! ($9.99) by Emma MacLaren Henke. The first tells how Saige’s grandma moves into rehab to heal a broken leg and contemplates selling one of her horses, which devastates Saige. The second discusses how art can help girls explore their feelings and provides activities.
Saige accessories include outfits, a hot-air balloon and a horse. A DVD movie based on Saige will launch in 2013.
To support the Saige doll, American Girl is sponsoring a school grant contest. The “Shine On Now” initiative includes the following:
--13 grants that elementary school art teachers can enter to win for their school’s art programs by submitting a digital image of a hot-air balloon-themed art project and an essay on why the arts matter in their school. Entries must be received by May 31.
-- Soar with Saige Sweepstakes that let girls download a hot-air-balloon template, color it, and send it to American Girl by April 1. They’ll be uploaded onto an online hot-air balloon mosaic and entered to win one of 10 prizes.
--A free curriculum for students in grades 3 to 6
-- Saige-themed events at American Girl stores nationwide.
The Saige doll, books, and accessories are available through the American Girl catalogue, at americangirl.com and at American Girl retail stores. For a catalogue, call 800-845-0005.