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Meet ‘Kavi Sharma,’ American Girl’s Indian American ‘Girl of the Year’ Doll

Meet ‘Kavi Sharma,’ American Girl’s Indian American ‘Girl of the Year’ Doll

  • The doll was designed in collaboration with author Varsha Bajaj and several other experts to make sure every detail of her story is rooted in authentic practices, culture and the history of India.

American Girl, a line of 18-inch dolls, has announced Kavika Sharma, Kavi for short, as its new “Girl of the Year.’ The company describes its first South Asian “Girl of the Year” as “a spunky Broadway-loving dancer and singer.” 

Unlike other American Girl dolls, “Girl of the Year” dolls are based on modern characters with contemporary stories, rather than those based in American history, according to the company’s website. 

“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,” said Jamie Cygielman, the general manager of American Girl, in a Dec. 29 press release. “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.”

American Girl worked with author Varsha Bajaj and several other experts to make sure every detail of Kavi’s story is rooted in authentic practices, culture and the history of India.

Author Varsha Bajaj 

“I think South Asian girls and women of all ages will feel seen, included, and represented,” said Bajaj in a statement shared in a press release. “Little girls will embrace her with joy, while older women may see her as a gift to their younger selves. I hope that all kids will embrace Kavi as a friend and love her story.”

American Girl set Kavi’s story in New Jersey, “where she grew up in a close-knit Indian family, and only a short train ride away from her two favorite places in the world: New York City and Broadway,” the company said. Between schoolwork, dance and music classes, time with family, Saturday yoga, and hanging out with friends, she “has a full plate,” it adds.

A trip with her grandmother to see “Wicked” on Broadway on her 12th birthday enforced her to pursue her dream of performing onstage. “As she rehearses for her school’s talent revue and takes on new responsibilities at home, Kavi learns important lessons about balance,” the company says.

Her little brother, Rishi, who wants to be a doctor one day, diagnoses her with “superstaritis.” The school talent revue is Kavi’s first opportunity to show her talents to a large audience, and she discovers that a good performance takes a lot of hard work and persistence. Ultimately, Kavi can let her talents shine and take a step toward her dreams.

She dreams of attending Princeton University like her dad, so she wants to get good grades and take advanced classes.

The doll was designed in collaboration with author Varsha Bajaj and several other experts to make sure every detail of her story is rooted in authentic practices, culture and the history of India.

The 18-inch doll launched online Dec. 29, 2022, and in retail locations nationwide on Jan. 1, 2023. The hardcover book will be available through American Girl and other online booksellers in March 2023.

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Kavi’s family celebrates their Indian American culture through dance, food, clothing, and holidays. Kavi takes weekly classes in classic Indian dance, and her favorite holiday to celebrate with her family is Diwali, which lasts five days every fall. Kavi also shares her culture in meaningful ways with her friends and classmates.

She hopes to help young people find “a healthy rhythm in life,” and exemplify the balance of family and school with the pursuit of individual unique talents and dreams. 

Kavi’s story will be shared in an illustrated paperback journal that comes with the doll and a hardcover novel, “It’s Showtime, Kavi,” by Bajaj debuting in March 2023. “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,” Bajaj said.

The 18-inch doll launched online Dec. 29, 2022, and in retail locations nationwide on Jan. 1, 2023. The hardcover book will be available through American Girl and other online booksellers in March 2023. The full product line features multiple contemporary outfits and accessories, including songwriting equipment, a backstage set and a Bollywood dance costume.

The company will also donate $25,000 to fund full and partial scholarships for kids, ages 7 to 14, participating in Camp Broadway’s summer programs in New York.

Though Kavi is the first South Asian “Girl of the Year,” CNN noted that “she is not American Girl’s first South Asian character.” In 2009, Sonali Matthews, who was at least part South Asian, was introduced as a companion character to that year’s “Girl of the Year,” Chrissa Maxwell.

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