American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rambled Opinions and General Snarkiness: 2016 TropiKenna Sadness, Modern Dribbles, and How Melody Ellison is Practically Perfect In Every Way

New Adventures. Same Old Bullshit.
Welcome to 2016, my happy campers! That is, if you're into camping. I'm not. The wild can stay there. Still, it's a whole new year and a whole new region! But we still gotta document them all. 2015 was one draining crappy year, and if all the issues that plagued me and mine in that year could stay on that side of the arbitrary time division, that would be cool as shit. Still, 2015 did have some good things.1 We got Maryellen Larkin, and while I was prepped to be against her in every way, she eventually captured my love to the point that I got her for my 35th, birthday present. She and Amelia were the only actual AG members I added to the gang this year; no other new girls joined, and Amelia still needs new outfits. But my sewing machine is cleared up again and so maybe I can get back to goals of sewing something new once a month to use these hundreds of patterns I owe, and blogging like I want to. My audience likes me, after all, and I like you unless I don't. And you know if I don't like you. I tend to make that very known.

This Sunday, I went to AG Seattle with my closest in proximity AG buddy, who I hadn't seen since my birthday because she was busy traveling during the Giftmas season. We caught up and chatted and we looked at all the new shit together like we enjoy. Some of the new stuff wasn't there, for reasons, so I'll have to use the wiki images until I can go back and take shots. I did that with both Ellie's TV and Addy's new bedtime stuff, which I still need to snap up soon enough.

And we both fell in love with Melody, and are counting down the days to her ultimate release. I will talk more about her at the end. First, I have to take the medicine that is this year's Girl of the Year and all her folderol. I didn't get the clearest pictures because there were quite a few small children running around, so we've got what we've got. If you'd like some clearer pics, take a gander over to AGC's Ace Reporter on all things AG, Lissie and Lilly. Then come back here and see me yell.

To the cut and the complaints. And a very long, very needed historical ending tied to Melody.

 TropiKenna of 2016, Or Why AG Has Too Many Hazel Eyes In The Backstock 

Your 2016 Girl of the Year. Passport sold separately. 
Lea Clark, Girl of the Year 2016: Grace, our Vanilla Bean ButterCream Baby, went up and down on sale frequently through 2015. I ended up getting her Bistro set for 40% off and her Mixing set for half off, and once I got the Sightseeing set I was done with her collection. She went on sale once during AG's 12 Days of Gifts sale, and during the last week lead up til Giftmas, her and whatever remained of her collection at that point went on 30% off. I never did bite down on getting her as a body donor, and I'm okay with that. Grace By Space finally went officially out of stock on December 30th, just in time for New Year's Adam.2 Even if she had meandered about until the countdown at midnight, she was getting kicked the moment the clock struck twelve in Wisconsin for the new girl.

And our new girl, Lea Clark, has arrived. She's got the Josefina face, the hazel eyes that at this point AG is popping into every head they can get their hands on because they have like, 24 million pairs, and light brown hair.

Is this the Doll of Color3 we've been hoping for? Is she the heralding of diversity?

I say no and I stand by it. Lea may have tan skin and her books state that she is 1/8th Brazilian in background. But she is not the diversity we should have or are asking for. I don't want to get into blood points and identifications since Lea's not a real person. But lemme put it this way. Lea Clark is as Brazilian as I am, minimally, white and Native American. One of my great grandparents--my paternal grandfather's father--was half white. Another was at least half Native (my mother could have qualified for Native scholarships, if the family had known about things like that back in the 70s and she'd had the resources). Does this make me white or Native? It most certainly does not. I don't ID as either, and Lea likely does not ID as Brazilian. So she is not a doll of color, though my updated images asking for diversity include her as the fifth girl that could plausibly be so. Out of...fourteen dolls, sixteen when you include Sonali and Gwen. Sigh.

Furthermore, as was added to the central AGDoCGotY post (and is being posted here in short form)? Actual, flesh and blood mixed/biracial/multiracial people are one thing. Nothing is wrong with any of them. But the Girls of the Year are not real people, and so their racial background is decided and planned by committee. Again. No frontline character in the GotY since Marisol in 2005 has not been at least part white--over ten years. Not only does a partially white character imply that a modern character of color cannot be accepted in the line without a spoonful of whiteness to make the ethnicity go down, it also implies that the only "real" biracial children are those that are part or mixed with white. Never mind Black Latinxs or any other potential mix, someone's gotta be part white to be biracial. AG is using "This character is biracial/one parent is white, the other is not in some way/a dollop of ethnicity" as a cop out to avoid putting forth a character that is not at least partially white. And they are doing this by design. AG characters are not real ethnicities because they are all created characters. So saying "but real people who are mixed exist in this world" is a bullshit argument because AG characters are not real. It's the same with saying that a woman in skimpy clothes in a video game is fine because the story says that she is self-empowered by her nudity. She's not empowered by anything at all, because she's not a real person. She's a character. They don't dress themselves like that and come up with their backstory. Someone created them to be half naked. And someome created Lea Clark to only be 1/8th Brazilian, when she could have been fully Brazilian and not partially white at all. It's the Thermian Argument. In-universe rules of the world cannot be used to justify what happens in the world, because the world was created. AG characters are created and so able to be changed by AG. In this case, AG continues to design Girls of the Year and only allow them to be partially PoC or outright white, and this is a form of racial bigotry.  Biracial people are a real people, and deserve real representation. But this isn't it. AG is using biracial people to avoid having full PoC. Poor representation is not better than none at all.

That being reranted out here, Lea is...a Bleah doll for me. I took Kanani with me to AG Seattle to look at Lea's stuff, and at one point set her right beside a display Lea. They look alike except for face mold--light brown hair, tan skin, and hazel eyes. She looks like a slightly darker Rebecca or a slightly tweaked McSeattle. Sorry not even sorry, I'm not getting TropiKenna for my gang.4

Also, a big change from the past: Lea does not have neck strings. I didn't get a good shot from the back--again, the small children--but she now has a zip tied and seamed neckline, which I will observe later. While this will make head removal much harder for those of us that go around popping them off, it'll still be possible or plausible, and now maybe a parent won't find that their child chopped off the strings and the head fell off. If you'd like them replaced, I'm sure several plausible people will add that to their unofficial doll hospital options.5

Sundresses in Seattle in Winter.
Meet Outfit: Lea comes in a "tribal" print braid trimmed sundress that I don't like one bit (bare doll armpits? No thanks), some neon as hell panties, and lace up sandals that aren't so bad but also not so good. She makes up for this considerable lack of clothes by also coming with a compass necklace and a messenger bag right out of the box. The compass necklace works like Addy's cowrie shell--you slide the knots to the loosest setting, and then wiggle it over her head and adjust as necessary. The compass doesn't really work, but the bag will actually hold stuff.

People bag.
The sundress in girl's sizes is available, but I don't see those moving much here in the north before summer starts showing up. Especially cause it actually snowed Sunday.6 So is the messenger bag, with some tweaks. I was iffy on Grace's aggressively polka dotted purse-bag, but this one is less obtrusive. Let's see how I feel as the months go on. I judge every bag by its ability to hold a video game system in the pockets, and it has a pocket I could do that to. So.

These are aggressively Lea's.
Earrings: AG has done it twice, now according to Aggie rules it's tradition. Lea also has a set of her-only earrings for the $16 piercing cost: pink circles with her logo, neon green butterflies, and beaded pink and orange dangles, all with a gold style background. Unlike Grace's--which I got Sunday at cost, thank you AG for having extra stock!--I'm not going to dig hard for these. The butterflies are okay, but the rest of it is just aggressively neon. Plus the only ones around here who can wear AG post earrings are Tara and Abbi, and I wouldn't have them wear these.

Books: The first two books, Lea Dives In and Lea Leads the Way, are out now, with a third coming later. I got the first one and haven't cracked it open yet because Reasons of Reading Melody's Book. Even if I can't stand a character for one reason or another, I have the books. That's what Libras do, they buy books. The back of the book has Portuguese terms. Were you expecting Spanish? No. Brazil is a Portuguese speaking country. Learn something. Her first book clocks in at thinner than Grace's at about 150 pages. It'll still get read. 

$32 for this?
Lea's Accessories: We've returned to not splitting the accessories across two groups. But since Lea comes with two of them already, only a few things here: A camera, four postcards, her passport, an elastic bracelet with a turtle charm, a book on sea turtles, and her braided and corded headband so she can be fancy. Well, fancy for $32. Shit.  That's too damn much for mostly paper and a few not-papers. If I was getting Lea, I'd do this just because I always try to get the meet accessories for the girls I get. But I'm not so who gives a bibble's ass.

Suitable for Kanobbles everywhere.
Bonus: If you have Kanani, this headband should work on her. Double bonus: Look at my 1/8th white ass hand! Can I qualify for white privilege now?7

Exclusive outfits are all the more reason to call you TropiKenna.
Lea's Beach Dress: The Beach dress was one of the early leaks: A purple tie-dye style shoulder dress. Now we see it also includes green sandals, a butterfly hair clip, and some funky print sunshades for all that sunshading in Brazil. Did you want this on its own? Hah fuck you. You can get it only if you buy the exclusive collection: Lea, her meet accessories, and this dress for $180. And since there's no accessory bundle right now, that would make the outfit cost about $28. Is it worth that much to you? Not me, the master of making cheap elastic dresses with the sewing machination. McSeattle did the same thing with her warm up set being exclusive to a starter collection. You're not helping your nickname, kiddo.

Jess is that you? Oh? No.
Lea's Mix and Match Swim Set: For all that ocean swimming she starts doing after she gets over her fear of swimming,8 Lea has a mix and match swim set. Two different swimsuit bottoms, a rash guard, and a swimsuit top and headscarf. I still maintain my dislike of doll swimsuits that show off middles--or most doll swimsuits at all--so not feeling it. And the top has like, fringe on it. I only like half the set, and half the set is not all the set. Pass unless it goes on sale.

Lea's Ocean Kayak Set: Continuing the Jess option, she also has a kayak. Hers is solid where Jess's was inflatable; it includes a paddle, a sail, The life vest to promote water safety, and an underwater camera and scenes from a hat underwater that go on the bottom of the kayak. The kayak feels dinky to her size; it's super skinny and doesn't even hold up her whole butt. I'll stick to my sail set, even with its busted bottom.

Lea's Beach Accessories: All of Lea's beach stuff is spoilers about her figuring out swimming. Oh well. There's a snorkel and swim mask, swim fins for all that swimming your doll should not be doing in actual water, a towel, and sunscreen for getting close to the Equator. And two turtles, if you're into turtles. One is a baby and the other is coming out of the egg. I'm debating it for Kanani, but it'll have to be on sale or something maybe. I'm into turtles. Speaking of which:

Sea turtles! Eee!
Sea Turtle: Lea's whole tie in--like Grace's was for No Kid Hungry--is the World Wildlife Fund, something I can get hella behind. Part of this campaign involves an art contest, and part involves sticking donations on your purchases at AG at the register or ordering online. And another part includes buying stuff because AG works that way. The first one I'll cover is her Sea Turtle: a tiny plush sea turtle with mottled skin and big front flap flaps and embroidered eyes. I got this for Kanani, and my $1 of this buy goes to WWF. I'll donate later to them directly for another stuffie. I like turtles, and this one has been named I.T. Because whenever AG's site craps the bed, we call that the I.T. Turtle flipping over. I will figure out a full name for the initials later.

Hiking with a sloth and a kitty. Well, a wild Kitty.
Lea's Rainforest Hike Outfit: Going hiking? There's an outfit for that! A short sleeved tee with a watercolor butterfly, capri pants, a belt to keep your pants up, boots with no socks, a basic headband, and a watch to know the time because Lea does not have a cell phone and if she did the roaming charges.9 I'm iffy on this. She's hiking about in the sub tropical forests where bugs can bite you, and her arms and calves are bare. Nah, I don't trust ticks and other bugs not to nom on my flesh and try for my blood and give me Lyme disease. (ETA: Lyme ticks are a north American thing. In the rainforest you have to worry about shit like malaria and dengue fever and sleeping sickness. Still.) Hiking needs a longer undershirt and longer pants and socks to add to this, I don't care how hot is is. But again, I'm on a saving bit here, so this will be at earliest a summer vacation purchase. It'll have to wait.

Lea's Rainforest Hike Accessories: Hiking requires prep. Prep needs stuff to carry with you. So here's a backpack with a drinking tube, a walking stick to poke to make sure that the branch is not a snake, two energy bars in mango and açai, binoculars to look and make sure the branch is not a snake, bug spray that will not save your bare calves from the snake, and a guide on butterflies you can read after the snake bites you. If I get the hiking set, I'll get this with it, and Kaya can go stomping around my PNW backyard making sure things are not snakes.

Three-Toed Sloth: Like the sea turtle, AG has released a three-toed sloth, with little velcro hands so he can hang from things or off TropiK's arm. I am one of the people on this earth who doesn't like sloths. Well, clarification. They are interesting animals to study, but they don't make me squeal and jump like they do for so many people. So this one is probably on the low stack of getting compared to getting anything else this year. Like Melody.

Margay Cat: Margay is not a name of a pet. Lea has no pets for you this year. She just has wild animals that contribute to the preservation of wild fauna. The margay is a small cat native to Central and South America that is in risk thanks to deforestation. Corporations are terrible and should be stopped and climate change is fucking real. Grumble. I'm going to have to think about it, because I'm not super feeling it like I was with I.T.

And having covered all three animals, I'll add this on: I think the animals should have come with informational pamphlets about the animals themselves, their habitat and endangered status. This would help with the education of the people buying AG stuff cause you know some of these knucklechucks aren't going to fucking read anything AG doesn't give them. A bit of dropped the options, here.

Fruit in English, because fuck Latinx people that's why. Oh and an outfit I like.
Lea's Bahia10 Outfit: For casual chills, TropiK has a long sleeved top, short denim shorts, and sandals. Probably the least fussy outfit in her collection, and the one I like the most out of any of them.  But again, saving for Melody, didn't get yet, will get later. That's the way the funds flow.

Lea's Fruit Stand: Lea's not as big but big thing for her is a fruit stand. It's pretty complete with some chunky foods, a toucan, hanging fruits, cheese buns, and signs and other stuffs. This could make up for the ice stand of Kanani's I don't have yet and still want, and balm that for a bit, so it's on the post Melody pile. All the writing is in English, though, with the exception of references to Amigos do Oceano in Portuguese and some names of foods.

....Lemme get this shit straight. So y'all could put all that French on Vanilla Bean's Bakery of Doom and Nightmares, but not even try to put Portuguese on Lea's stuff? Major fucking fail.

It's not a bakery of ultimate doom, thank Gods.
Lea's Rainforest Dreams Pajamas: .... oh. So that's what we're making TropiKenna sleep in this year. It's no. It's completely no. It's got ruffles and gathers and fuzzy slippers and rompers and what is going on here. I will not let this set in my house. I already suffered through the 80s. We cannot be friends, pajamas. More like rainforest nightmares.

Lea's Rainforest House: So apparently in the tropics we have to sleep in open air beach houses. Okay then. We've got among the things her laptop, a stove/chimney, chair, table of unshaped wood, lantern,string of seashells, random animals, outdoor shower, hammock, storage bin, window images, and so on and so forth. Firstly, the fact I am saying with a straight face that thank gods it doesn't cost $500 and clocks in at a hair under $400 is a testament to how much I fucking hated that Bakery of Doom. That being said, I'm not impressed by it much. I know the collection is trying to evoke some sort of exotic, tropical feel, but that's the problem, and this house semi-embodies that problem. It implies that this is the kind of place Brazilians live in, and they do not. People in other non-US non-Canadian non-Europan places have things like closed houses, indoor showers, electric stoves, and flush toilets. I don't know yet how this will tie into her stories, but it'd better be a one or two night thing, because the implications are prejudiced. Also the hammock has to hang in only one spot or else if you put a doll in it the roof will fall off.

Whoops, y'all bad.

Take a picture, it'll last longer.
Modern Dribbles: Representation and Fug

The moderns only got one and a half outfits and some accessories, as well as some new souvenir stuff. Let's cover that quickly before getting to the historicals.

Red Hearts Ruffle Outfit: Well, that is certainly something they are selling this year, aren't they? Dress, sandals, and bracelet. I can tell you for free every member of my gang but Lydia would cut me if I tried to put this on them and they would all be justified. If I want something covered in too many hearts and ruffles I'll buy an Etsy dress.

Valentine Tee Gift Set: New Year, new valentine shirt in envelope. It's pink and short sleeved and has headphones saying "Listen to your heart." I liked last years with my furry implications much better. Only on discount.

The next three I had to get from the Wiki because I didn't see them in the store. I think one is cafe tied, and the other two were out of stock. That fast. 

Treat seating.
Treat Seat Set: It's the same treat seat chair, but now it comes with dishware and food added on and a rise in price. Treat seats only serve me a purpose when I'm at the cafe with my buddy, so I don't need a home one. The food is interesting, but I'd need it separately.

Arm Crutches! (pic added 6/28/16)
Arm Crutches: AG, continuing the representation of disabilities, has released arm crutches. A simple non pink color, and not a bad price. One of my gang members uses a wheelchair, and she'd use these too. So I will get them.

...when they are in stock. The store sold out day of. Damn. They also sold completely out of....

For all your diabetic needs. (picture taken and posted 6/28/16)
Diabetes Care Kit: One of the successful calls from the world of campaigning to AG! The diabetes care kit includes a log book, bracelet to inform others, injection pens, a testing meter, an insulin pump, glucose tablets for low blood sugar, decor for the pump, ways to apply it to the body, and a bag to carry the needs in. This too was out, and went out within a few hours on the first. None of my girls have diabetic issues, but someone could in the future, so I will likely get this. And if you grew up reading BSC books, you'll know why Stacey would be an excellent name for her in any part.

New souvenir shirt.
New Souvenir Shirt: The new souvenir shirt diverges from the years of red we've had for a time and is now white, with stars around a star outline. Not bad. I'll get one later. I always get the Seattle one.

We need to talk.
New Souvenir Skirt: ...Nah. I don't like the print, the colors, and I'm not feeling the bow. I'll just put the new shirt over jeans or older skirts I have.

Fuzzy dog. (bonus in the right: Lea creeping.)
Coconut Plush: It's so fluffy and pettable. I have one of the older Coconut doggies and I adore them. This one's a little built like a shag rug, but it doesn't take from the fuzzy. I hope it stays around for a while for me to get. Sorry, Coconut, I had to get the I.T. turtle.

And that's all the moddie stuff. More pending next release. They always give Jan 1st to the new girl.

BeForever: Melody Ellison is Perfect! (And LE Mini Dolls)

Mini LEs for 30 years!
2016 LE Mini Dolls: This year marks 30 years of American Girl. (Yes, I'm older than AG.) And to start, there's a set of this year only mini dolls. Unlike the 2011 set, all eight are out to start. They each come with a new stand that can place the doll in a walking position, and the outfits are all based on BeForever wear that hasn't been done yet. Well, except Kaya because the only other special historical outfit she has is the Adorned Deerskin Dress, and so she always gets put in that. But the others have "new" clothes and everyone comes with a mini-version of their Journey book. No Caroline--she's retired--and no Melody--she's not out yet. I immediately snatched up Mini-Addy because I can not have enough Mini Addy, and I will probably get Micro Sam next time. The others are a toss up, but I said that in 2011 and ended up with all twelve of them and the stand I keep them in.

Will they do anyone else? Well, maybe. There's also LEs for Felicity, Molly, and Kirsten, but they're in their old meet outfits and updated to the full vinyl body. I might get the mini Kirsten. 

The first thing I picked up in the store. Because Melody Ellison is wonderful.
Melody Ellison/No Ordinary Sound: And now, how Melody Ellison is practically perfect in every way.

Since last year, we have heard that AG was coming out with a new African American BeForever Character. Granted, this was dropped in part to defer the fact that we're getting whiter and barely DoC with the girls of the year, but it was still something I've been excited about since it was announced. There's been outfit leaks, and cover leaks that helped narrow things down to the 1960s; Amazon indicated that her book was debuting Jan 1st, but we were skeptical. And then it was found out that her first book was out on shelves early, and it actually came out Jan 1st.

Melody Ellison is a black girl growing up in 1960s Detroit, and when I told my mom about her my mom pretty much said "it's me it's me it's me!" (My mom is only a few years older than Melody is estimated to be.) Her first book starts in late spring 1963, and carries through to September. I didn't hesitate to grab the copy right as soon as I saw it, and hand one to my buddy so we could have it to read. Her collection and her other books don't come out until summer--something about quality delays. Damn it, I could have had her SOON. There's more than a bit of unfortunate issue to the fact that AG released her first book the first day of another fucking year without Black GotY representation after 16 years of this line, and a very minimally "ethnic" girl. And that will be a complaint later. Oh so it will be.

But as soon as she comes out? I'm picking her up. I will go to whatever store I am closest to and grab her and not put her down. So that is where all my saving is going and any money that gets tossed into my Tip Jar on the side is now officially part of the Bring Melody Home Day of Release Fund.

Be on the lookout. I will get whatever I can.


And now, the sobering part of this post that I cannot let slide.

Normally, I would not spoil any of a book that has only been out for five days at this point. But this is something that isn't a spoiler to me, and it's something I need you all to know and learn and respect, down to the very fiber of my soul and being.

As I said above, Melody's book covers from about June to September 1963. This covers three big events in the Civil Rights of the 1960s. First, it covers The Detroit Walk to Freedom, which was in part a practice run of the later 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where the famous "I Have a Dream" speech was made. The second is the March on Washington.

The third is the one that I want to and will talk about. If you're on AGC, you already saw some of this. So.

I read the first book, over the night of the third after picking it up at the store. And I tore through it. Most of it. And then one event roadblocked me and made me stop. And by roadblocked? I mean I had to put the book down, and I ended up crying myself snotty sick and red-eyed and ugly, and when my Bae saw me he had to hold me for several minutes before I could keep reading. And I was red eyed and snotty through the whole rest of the book.

The third event covered in Melody's first book is the Sixteenth Street Church Bombing. On September 15th, at 10:22 am on a Sunday morning in Birmingham, Alabama, a bomb exploded near the basement of the the oldest black church in Birmingham, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. It was Youth Day. Children were in the basement, preparing for the day. And a dynamite bomb was planted near the basement of the church by members of the KKK--four men who did this in an act of white terrorism against the black community of Alabama and the world in order to evoke fear and terror in people. Terrorism in America for the majority of its history has been white violence against blacks and other people of color, and this was no different.

In the story, Melody and her family are getting ready for church when her mother and elder cousin scream at the news on radio. Her mother cries. And the family finds out, as the nation did--as my mother did, as my father did, as the world did--that four girls were murdered, in the explosion, in church on Sunday morning, in an act of hate towards black people.

Their names are, from left to right:
Carol Denise McNair (Nov. 17, 1951 - Sep. 15, 1963, age 11);
Carole Rosamond Robertson (Apr. 24, 1949 - Sep. 15, 1963, age 14);
Addie Mae Collins (Apr. 18, 1949 -  Sep. 15, 1963, age 14); and
Cynthia Dionne Wesley (Apr. 30, 1949 -   Sep. 15, 1963, age 14).

It traumatizes Melody. It seals her singing voice away. It makes her too scared to even walk into a church, because she's scared she's not safe there anymore. Melody can't stop thinking about the Sixteenth Street Church bombing. She is half haunted. She wonders if any of the girls was like her cousin and best friend. She wonders about the quiet of lost voices in the homes affected. She wonders what the girls were named, and what they were like.

And the line that fucked me right the hell up?

"[Melody] couldn’t help thinking again of the girls who wouldn’t grow up at all."

And this is where I burst into tears and couldn't read anymore for a time. I lost several moments just crying myself miserable sick, thinking about those four girls. Them and every little black child murdered in the expression of racism through the generations, every little black child that never got to grow up at all.

This sentence, this single sentence, broke me down into tears for several moments. This made my stomach twist and my heart and soul hurt and me weep for several hard, fat moments. Ten good minutes, at least. An AG book hasn’t ever broken me to tears like this, and I've been reading them since the mid 90s.

Because Melody's story is fiction, but this was not. This happened. My mom was twelve and remembers the news while she herself was getting ready for church.

This isn't like Addy eating the worms, or Nellie almost getting sent away from her sisters, or Marta dying on the way through America. Those stories were all in their way upsetting, all that was upsetting. But when you get right to it, those events were fiction. Those were and are stories. They weren’t real. They were characters.

The 16th Street Church bombing was real. Four little girls really were murdered.

I will never, can never forget that a church was really bombed on a Sunday in September 1963 in the name of hate against black people wanting equality in this country. And because of that vile, horrific, hate-filled act of American terrorism, four little girls never got to grow up.

And only three of the perpetrators of that terrorist act ever were convicted for their crimes. Three were imprisoned, and two are dead now. But the fourth escaped any form of criminal justice because the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover's hate-filled racist ass sealed the records and shut down the investigation, and by the time the files were reopened and they started to pursue, he got out of it by fucking DYING.

Please, please remember this when you read Melody's book and look at her collection and see anything about her. Please don't you forget, with every word, that the 16th Street Church Bombing is not just story, not just a part of a tale in a book. That it was real.

You'd better remember that four white men got together and planned to attack a church on a Sunday morning because they knew it would be most packed at that time. That four members of the biggest, oldest terror group in America hated black people so much and felt so justified in being able to terrorize us so much that they set a bomb at a church and it went off and murdered four little girls in the process.

That the bomb blew a seven foot hole in the church. That the explosion was so forceful it blew out all but one stained glass window and was heard for miles and that people in passing-by cars were injured. That four little girls were found "stacked on top of each other, clung together" and that the families had to identify their slain daughters by their shoes--Cynthia Wesley could only be IDed by her clothing and a ring, because the explosion was so intense that she was decapitated and mutilated. That one mother, Maxine McNair, remembers hearing a blast and crying for her baby. That the last sight of her daughter, her baby girl, her only child at the time, was her dead with a fist sized chunk of rock imbedded in her skull. That the pastor walked in to the wreckage and heard 12 year old Sarah Collins moaning, crying for her older sister because the last thing she remembered before everything went dark was seeing the girls tying their dress sashes. That several of their siblings are still alive. That parents outlived their babies. That birthdays, lifetimes, passed without their beloved member of their family.

Remember that those children died.

And when some jackshit comes around on Facebook or forums or anywhere and starts mewling that this story is too "scary" for their child?

Knock the fucking shit out of them. Hell, gimme a book, I'll slap the taste out their mouths.

Scary to you or your child's feelings? Fuck your precious feelings. 

Your poor child is disturbed from reading? Boo hoo hoo. Bottle the tears and choke on them.

The sister of one of the slain girls, Sarah Collins, is still alive. She remembers the last thing her sister did before the bomb went off. Her older sister, Junie, remembers that the last talk they ever had was an argument and it haunted her for years. The parents of Denise McNair are still alive--were, as of the 50th anniversary of this horrible event in 2013. Several children who were injured in the bombing are still alive. There are hundreds, thousands of people alive who lived through the trauma of white terrorism that ripped through the American south through the 1960s to try and intimidate blacks into staying subservient and taking a position in America that was less than white people.

So fuck you, and fuck your child's "special sensitivity" and hurt feelings. You'd better let them know how painful the history of America has been and what has been and can be committed in America out of hate and the social power of institutional racism that puts whites above everyone else. Shit, tie it to the slaughter of nine people in Charleston in a church, cause that fucking shit is related. That even one person feeling justified in attacking people in a place of worship is because too many people would rather turn their back to the history of white violence in this country.

Four dead children are not worth your feelings or you sugar coating shit.

Scary? It wasn't too scary for the families to go through. It wasn't too scary for the people injured. It wasn't too scary for Addie Mae's younger sister, twelve-year-old Sarah Collins, who had twenty-one pieces of glass embedded in her face and was permanently blinded in one eye and in the target age of AG girls and is still alive today. It wasn't too scary for four black families to bury their babies, for mothers to lay their children in the ground after losing them to terror and murder and the hateful, evil belief of white supremacy.

Denise McNair was born the same year my mom and dad were. My mom turned twelve that April. My father turned twelve that October.

Denise never turned twelve.

Those four little girls never got to grow up at all.

And to quote Boom: 
I know we all have a tendency to make our own characters, and we all have a tendency to make our characters fit our own narrative, whatever it is. I do it too, and I admit it. Or I shift them to moddie, or "Quite Historical," in the case of Ellie. This one is entirely different. This... this has gotten me[.] When I get Melody... there will be no "quite historical." There will be no moddie gear worn. There will be nothing but Melody Ellison, from Motown USA, Detroit. Far be it from me to tell anyone what to do with their own doll... but I implore folks to do the same. Let her name, her time, her place, stand as they are. There are black moddies that can serve a purpose of a name change, place change, whatever change. Use one of them.

This one matters too much.
I can't make anyone do anything. But I can tell you with every fiber of my being why it matters to me to not take Melody's story away from her and that, if you intend to get her, you let her keep her story and her voice. There will be other dolls to take and modernize.

Please, don't do it to her. Let her have her story, and let the four girls have theirs in her story.

There's nothing more sobering than ending on that note. I can't and won't take away from that impact.

Just...please. Remember that this really happened. Remember that four little girls never got to grow up. Remember their stories are a story that should never stop being told.

Remember their lives. Remember their names.

Remember that four little girls never got to grow up.

Denise McNair. Holding a doll like little girls did and do today.
Who never got to grow up.

1 The best thing of 2015? Hamilton. Go listen to Hamilton. Do it. I could and sometimes listen to that soundtrack all day from start to finish. I learned more about the bastard, orphaned founding father without a father in a single playthrough of the soundtrack than I ever did in school. Plus I know now that Daveed Diggs exists in this world and he is a daily reminder that yes, I am in fact at times attracted to men.
2 Comes before New Year's Eve and is not as intriguing.
3 A reminder here in the footnotes. Dolls of Color are not just Black, no matter what the people on Facebook and other terrible sites will say before they puke that their baby doesn't even SEE color moments before they screech that there's not been a blonde and blue doll for GotY like their child anyways. Dolls of Color are Black, Native, South Asian, Polynesian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, etc.--anyone that is not White and does not ID as white.
4 Not to mention these are precious funds waiting til this summer. Continue on.
5 Should I reopen my doll hospital? I could. I know restringing, rewigging, freckling, makeup restoration/brightening, Neck string replacement--had to do it to my Addy--and small seam repair, and plan to teach my self eyeball removal and eye swapping.
6 Didn't stick. Bitch.
7 Things I will not be getting over, thank you very much.
8 I will not even remotely think this is nothing big. I almost drowned as a toddler and that made me scared to have water over my face as a child; the moment water went up my nose I lost it. I don't even like it too much to this day.
9 Hah.
10 It is not pronounced "buh-he-uh" or "Bah-eey" or any of that. It's bah-ee-ah. Don't fuck this up like people fuck up Josefina.


  1. Neth!!

    First of all...thank you for letting me follow you (and for your follow request!!) on IG - still fangirling like a jackass over here (I'm @renzanity).

    Second - loving the new snarky name for the problematically white GOTY. I had been calling her McKanani, but TropiKenna is fucking gold. You have a gift!! Unfortunately my daughter is obsessed with her, Because Wild Animals, and desperately wants her - she wants to be both a zoologist and a marine biologist when she grows up, and knows a scary terrifying amount of information about wildlife. I feel like saying no will be impossible, but I told her if she really wants her and her crap that she will have to work hard to earn some of the money for items herself...and we will be building some stuff ourselves. I liked her first book, but eye rolled so damn hard at 1/8 Brazilian.

    Third and last and best - MELODY! I have been waiting for her!! Her story is compelling and sweet and heartbreaking. As a totally weird kid who was "overexposed" to the news growing up, I was obsessed with the holocaust by age nine, and first learned of the Birmingham bombing in 6th grade. I was surprised but impressed that the author and Mattel chose to commemorate this and I hope parents don't censor it. I was raised in Charleston, SC and went to church only a block from Mother Emanuel - our church worked closely with them on many things - and I made damn sure our kids knew and understood what happened there this past summer. I just want to give you a big ass hug. I'm sorry, Neth. I'm so sorry.

    Melody is sure to be perfection and I am eagerly awaiting her release. I wonder what she will look like in comparison to the book art! Btw I've been stalking this site since yesterday waiting for a review! I'm so glad to be reading it!!

    1. No problem! I love your feed on IG!

      I can't take the credit for TropiKenna; ttadae on the board plucked the name saying she looked like McKenna on vacation. However, it was the one that made me cough on my food laughing, so it stuck. Others include Bleah or Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bun, to continue on the bread/food run that started with Wonderbread and Chipotle Mayo.) The animals and things I can see being super tempting, but maybe try with the books first and the plush, and have her save up and see if she's still feeling that way further into the year. I've yet to properly crack the first book, but the moment I heard she was 1/8th I was like "okay, AG, now you're just doing this to piss us off."

      Melody, Melody, Melody! Her story has me because my mom grew up literally on the other side of the water of Lake Michigan, first in Chicago and then in Milwaukee, and is only a few years older than the character. I wasn't as over exposed to the news, but my mom was big on teaching me black history, so I first learned of the bombing when I was in elementary school. It badly shook my mom because like I said, she was only a little older than the youngest girl murdered. I'm super impressed that AG didn't make Ms. Lewis Patrick pull the impact of that event, and I'm eagerly waiting the second book.

      *hugs back*

      Hee I'm popular enough to be eagerly awaited! ^.^

    2. Awww thank you. I'm afraid I take a loooot of kid photos. lol

      Bleah is pretty hilarious. I love pão de queijo - the food, that is! I tried making them years ago but I don't think I got it right. Maybe I'll try again.

      We do have a rule in our house that you MUST buy and read the books either when purchasing a doll or (preferably) before. Right now we are all up in Maryellen (that sounds wrong). Daughter bought herself the sloth (I know you're thrilled hahaha); she still wants the sea turtle. I agree that we can probably get away with not getting the doll itself since I think she's more interested in the items. I agree that the 1/8 thing was possibly intentional. #hashtagrude

      I think learning every aspect of our history - not just our nation, but our human and global history - is so important. I was surprised that our school does not actively observe Black History Month; I've been working to change that. Last year I didn't have a lot of pull so when, in FEBRUARY, my daughter's class had to bring in photos and an oral report of someone famous they admired, I suggested she write about Bessie Coleman (she wants to learn to fly an airplane so she has lots of books on the subject of female aviators). She did! It is still hanging up on her wall. I'm hoping that maybe I can push harder this year and get the principal on board with having teachers assign an oral report on a black person who has had positive impact in our society during the month of February. I am really beyond shocked that they don't do much more than "February is Black History Month, check out the books at the library." WHAT?

      I was also surprised when you said they didn't pull back! I was crying reading this post. I'm really glad you wrote it! All of it!

  2. TropiKenna is the best nickname yet. I think she's completely unoriginal and would have been an awesome DoC.:) I'm not thrilled with her collection, either. We lived through the 80s- I'm over neon forever.

    I am also incredibly excited for Melody. Her stories sound amazing, and I can't wait to read them. I'm so glad that AG didn't back down from the effect that racism has on our country. Someone said to me recently, "The 60s aren't history, they're just vintage!" and I can't disagree more. It's a period in history that gets glossed over or ignored. I think Melody will educate another generation of AG fans- just like the first four girls.

    1. I just caught your Pão de Queijo reference. It's a tough pronunciation- easy to mix up with "pau" ;) As an American who ordered pau de queijo in Brasil, it made me chuckle. I learned fast!

  3. I was so excited to see your post and I just want to say I love your reviews. This one made me cry. I must go get Melody's book now and I regret not getting it on my birthday trip. To echo Sass thank you so much for following me on instagram (ottersandelephants), I had a little fan girl moment (at nearly 30 years old) when I saw that you had liked one of my photos. I got two dresses for Addy and have been waiting to debut them because like you I feel that her dresses belong only to her. Sorry for the rambling, just wanted you to know that I love everything you do.

  4. Hey Neth,

    If you reopened your doll hospital, I got a few girls that could really use it. One of my moddies for example. Because I know at least I could trust you to not relimb one of them just because she has a couple melted fingers, or screw with Julie because she's missing half of each thumb. And my Addy could actually use some limb tightening.

    Also, I want a Melody. Don't worry. She'll keep her name, her story and her collection with me. And since I got a job now, and she doesn't come out till summer, it gives me time to scrape together my work funds. Still no A*G store anywhere near me, but maybe I can send the money to a friend and have them nab her for me.

    But I'll start with her first book. Because the books are the important part.

    Ugh. Still also need to buy some Addy stuff too that I'm really missing.

    Thank you so much for this post. I've missed reading your blog. I know I'm quiet, but I still read. Also, 1/8 Brazilian, what the actual fuck? She doesn't even have a Brazilian surname good grief.

    And hey I knew they speak Portuguese in Brazil. :D

    *Hugs because damn you've been missed*


  5. Wow, thank you for this review. It's going to be hard to read about the bombing, and now I'll be better prepared for it.

    Parents shouldn't outlive their children, especially because of murder.

  6. You should investigate WWF. It actually is not a good charity for animals. It supports the interests of humans and does a lot of shady shit. Not a worthy cause in my opinion.

    1. You wanna give me details? Because "supports the interest of humans" implies quite a bit.

    2. All I could find were references to WWF being part of "Big Green" by numerous websites I've never heard of. However, CharityNavigator gives it 3 of 4 stars, saying it gets 3 of 4 in finances and 4 of 4 in accountability and transparency. Out of a score of 100, they get an 89.43. I would also like some examples with legitimate sources so I can make the best possible informed decision.


  7. Hi, this a totally unrelated topic, but I have a question for the "dolly-whisperer Neth".... I received a Pleasant Company Addy doll today (a complete surprise) and though she is gorgeous, she needs a bit of work... Her wig is a mess, cut and it feels like it may have some sort of product in it... I would really like to just get a new wig for her, but I don't really want to send her to the AG hospital, as she would get a complete new head, and I don't particularly want to do that (because she is a PC doll)... Do you know where I could get either a new AG Addy wig, or a wig that would be a good stand in for her wig? Also, one of her eyes has the beginning of silver eye, and I wondered if there was anything I could do to stop it's progress?
    Thanks so much!
    Hannah M.

    1. I'm not Neth, but I can answer this, as I've been looking myself.

      Your best bet is to keep checking ebay. Search american girl wigs or american girl addy wig, or anything like that. I've yet to find a good textured wig so I can rewig Zoë, but all I've seen on the Monique site is wigs that aren't what I'm looking for, or that are veering dangerously close to being pickaninny braids.

    2. Ok thank you! I'll keep looking...
      Hannah M.

    3. Also with regards to silver eye, there's no real way I know of completely stopping it, but it's mostly caused by heat and moisture, so minimizing those will help.

    4. I'm also wondering if there is a difference in the vinyl color between PC and Beforever Addy dolls? Cause if I do end up sending her into AG for a new head, I don't want it to be a really noticeable color difference from the rest of her limbs... You wouldn't happen to know if there is a difference would you?
      Hannah M.

    5. No idea, but if there is, AG would just give you a whole new doll for the cost of the head replacement. The company IS pretty good about avoiding obvious Frankendolls!

    6. Really?! I had no idea! That settles my fears then about a weird half one color, half another doll... I don't want Addy (my grail doll) to be like that! She's much too pretty!
      Hannah M.

  8. Melody.. I need her book and I need her doll. But everything you said about the bombing just hurt so bad, I'm crying too. And to think just last year, similar intentions towards another black church. I'm nothing but disgusted. But hey, racism is over in American right?

  9. Gaw, just reading what you had to say about Melody made me cry. I have been waiting and waiting to get her, and I am so happy to hear that her story covers that event, but I am also afraid that, like you said, parents will complain that it is too scary. I really, really hope that Melody will flourish and never get cancelled like Cecile was. Her story is too important and as soon as she is out I am going to snap her up. I grew up being the little white girl who cared most about Addy and her story and was so connected to her that when I did a book report on her series I took up the entire class period talking about it to the class, and I only wish that Melody had been around when I was growing up as well. I just want to hold her forever.

  10. This is why I read your blog Nethelia (also thought I saw you make some edits on TvTropes). Oversensitive People gaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!

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    1. I agree with you. As a Christian myself, I have seen these problems occurring and I feel they are not showing the love of Christ in their comments. It's so sad how people will go under the name of "Christian" and do horrible things, and make others think that is how everyone in that group acts. It's not. This applies to white people, to black people, to Chinese, to Hispanics, and everyone. Everyone has been stereotyped to the point where not believes anyone anymore. It saddens me to the point where I know God is grieving this up in heaven.

    2. I'm openly pagan and most Christian-laden sentiments unnerve me.

    3. @VS - Okay, no. No no no. Back up, back up, sit down and start listening. It is not racism if it's a group of people of color saying it about white people. It's just not, because a marginalized group cannot be racist against white people because of what racism is. Racism is power + privilege. So stop right there with that. It's not racism. I don't know what you'd call it (quite frankly, I'd call it Black Folks Speaking the Truth of the Matter) but it sure as hell ain't racism. Moving on.

      Then we get into the rest of this. You do all these things. Great. Good for you. What are you doing to help? What are you doing to be a good ally? It's great that your family is "extremely multi-cultural" (whatever that means in the context of this conversation) but... so? What's what you eat got to do with being a good ally? What's being exposed to different religions got to do with being a good ally? You're angling (like the person below) for ally cookies without doing any of the actual work.

      And finally... repeating over and over how much you disagree with Neth's thoughts is kind of the opposite of being helpful. It actually makes you kind of a dick. Point it out once, fine - Neth and I disagree on things but we say it once and that's it, we move on - but to keep repeating it makes it sound like you're deigning to even post here in support of anything all she's said that you DO agree with. Yes, she uses harsh language, and yeah, she's spilling some tea about some white folks who treated her horribly. Not "may have" treated her horribly. DID treat her horribly. Why not just say that you're sorry she was treated that way and resolve in yourself to do better than that as a human being? There's no need to hammer the point home so much, it's dickish and serves no point.

      And both of you... please leave the religion out of it. Not everyone wants to see the "love of Christ" in their comments, because they don't believe in your Christ. Respect that.

    4. I'm trying not to get too involved here, since Nethilia and Boom are handling this, but there's some stuff here that as I, a Black woman who is also a Pagan, can't let slide.

      I pray one day you won't battle your depression and that you will understand that a bunch of mean (possibly fake Christians) don't represent us all.

      Wow. You just basically accused Nethilia of being unable to tell what a bunch of horrible people identifying as Christians that harmed her for her faith (among other things) and Christians in general. Not to mention that you "Not ALLLLL Christians!" a legitimate and widespread problem with people who identify as Christian: they do not accept faiths other than their own, and they are homophobic (and biphobic, and transphobic, and other kinds of bigotry). If you looked around this blog, you'd see Nethilia has Christian (the Jesus-following kind, not the "NOT ALL CHRISTIANS!"/feel the need to witness to "non-believers" kind) friends, and obviously can separate good people from bigots. I'm not going to even touch the fact you mentioned depression in the same sentence.

      No one likes being punished for their background so I hope someday people will not look at my daughter and think she's a privileged white girl, as I've seen written or talked about in places.

      Your daughter benefits from white privilege (via your husband), and what sounds like white-passing privilege (meaning that people will think she's white, so she won't be subjected to some of the prejudice that people of color face: for example, if she looks white, she's less likely to be followed around a store because they think she's a shoplifter, for one of many examples). Like it or not, she has privilege, and denying that isn't going to help anyone. Hopefully you raise her in a way to be aware of her privileges and use them for the benefit of society.

      I'm a Christian and realize that we're coming into an age where it's life or death when it comes to our faith and professing it. It saddens me greatly for the children and families that dealt with the church bombing.

      Hold it RIGHT THERE. Those four little girls were NOT targeted and murdered because they were Christian, they were targeted and murdered because they were BLACK. The bomb was placed at a historically Black church by self-identified white supremacists with connections to the KKK. It is utterly vile that you are attempting to co-opt the murder of children for the false narrative that Christians are persecuted ("it's life or death when it comes to our faith and professing it") in America (you identify as living in St Louis) today, let alone to Nethilia, a Black woman who is not a Christian.

      Those girls (and the other victims who suffered injury, including the sister of the one of the murdered girls) weren't targeted for their Christian faith, and the victims South Carolina shooting this past June weren't targeted for their Christian faith either: in both horrific cases, the victims were murdered for the color of their skin by self-identified white supremacists, and to believe otherwise is to not only ignore the facts of the cases, but to blatantly disrespect the memories of the victims.

      Nethilia, I apologize if this was out of line, this person's statements just really bothered me and I couldn't not say something.

    5. This is a nitpick on word choice more than anything, but it took me four read-throughs of the "I pray one day you won't battle your depression" sentence to realize what it was intended to mean. Am I the only one?

  13. This post right here was very inspiring!
    Its funny, I recently talked to a white girl who stated "I wish Josephina, Kaya, Addy, and Melody would be removed from the Beforever collection and that they bring Marie Grace back and not Cecile". Then she ironically asks people not to bully her or be mean to her for her ignorant statement. She was ten years old, and although I know that it is more of her parents fault than hers, it pissed me off. Too many white people today try to say we are "pulling the race card". But white people just love pulling that "ignore it" card. They'd rather pretend like it never existed. They'd rather brush their issues under the rug. Being held accountable is scary to them because their price is too heavy to pay.
    This is why Melody's book is so important today and I am glad that her story gives us a piece of true history.

    1. I am so happy for Melody releasing! I am for the rights of blacks in America, even though I am white. That white girls is awful, I cannot believe she actually said that!!! I cried when they archived Cecile. I'm still trying to find a way to buy her on ebay for a price that's not too outrageous. I didn't buy Lea or Maryellen cause I already have too many white dolls. It gets boring after awhile, getting dolls that look so similar to each other. My mom is very excited for Melody's stories, and so is my grandma!!! One day we will end this racism.

  14. BTW, I also broke down and cried when I read the story. In fact, I had been feeling the same way ever since my own friend (who was killed) was wrongly locked up by white police officers this year. I felt what Melody was feeling. It was very surreal.

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  17. I just finished Melody and broke down crying too. It's hard being black in America. With Addy, I've read reviews on Amazon and on blogs, "Her stories are too harsh for my kids" or "She doesn't speak with the right vocabulary". All excuses as to why they won't buy her. Just wait until they get hold of Melody. I had one person tell me that "kids don't understand racism". Ha! Maybe not some white kids, but black children and children of other races sure do. Our children can't help but understand that there were people who just didn't like them for their skin color or cultural origins. I wish someone would come to me talking about "They should censor the books for more sensitive children". Really, you should read some of those reviews on Amazon. XD It will make you want to slap the whole family.

    People always want to shelter their children from the truth and all it does is create another generation of culturally ignorant children.

  18. I just finished Melody and broke down crying too. It's hard being black in America. With Addy, I've read reviews on Amazon and on blogs, "Her stories are too harsh for my kids" or "She doesn't speak with the right vocabulary". All excuses as to why they won't buy her. Just wait until they get hold of Melody. I had one person tell me that "kids don't understand racism". Ha! Maybe not some white kids, but black children and children of other races sure do. Our children can't help but understand that there were people who just didn't like them for their skin color or cultural origins. I wish someone would come to me talking about "They should censor the books for more sensitive children". Really, you should read some of those reviews on Amazon. XD It will make you want to slap the whole family.

    People always want to shelter their children from the truth and all it does is create another generation of culturally ignorant children.

  19. I have been complaining to my husband about the 'tanned white girl' and the 'wannabe latina' for a while. Literally. She looks like a blond girl with a tan that she got on vacation at an "exotic" local. Ugh. Would it have killed AG to have given her darker hair?

    Heck yes it is scarey as all heck, but we (society) can't ignore and hide these kinds of stories and events. Maybe if more folk knew about this, it would stop them from spewing hateful rhetoric in regards to everyone with darker skin than white.
    In a perfect world we would all be people and not judged by the color of our skin. As for kids not understanding racism? Ha! My kids are biracial (latino/caucasian). One has a year round tan, another looks white, and the youngest looked white until a long summer playing outside. They have all gotten smack from latinos(mostly about not speaking a lot of Spanish) and caucasians(lots of different stuff, and not everyone) in the community. The community has a large Latino and large Caucasian communities. The youngest was in 3rd grade when a classmate spat in her face and told her Mexicans didnt deserve to live. I wish someone would give that special little snowflake a good history lesson and a talking to because she obviously had no problems with being able to "see color." The one who looks white has stood up for his friends who are latinos to other kids and called them out on the racist garbage. This happened around 3rd or fourth grade... My oldest... The librarian took one look at her in kindergarten and sent her home with books in spanish. I could read it, but really... Wrong on so many levels.

    I grew up in a mostly caucasian community in the 80s that was heavily republican and firmly middle to uppermiddle class. There was 1 kid who in Kindergarten through 5th grade spewed racist comment after racist comment to me. Yeah.

    Point to my story, these kids had peers in the target age group some even younger. These peers certainly had no problems judging others based on their skintone, it would be irresponsible of their parents to insist that the kids 'don't see color.' Letting these kinds of oppertunities to learn from the tragedies of the past slip by because 'it is too scary' is plain and utter bs. I plan on getting Melody's books and sharing them with my daughters.

    1. Take detour to Youtube and see how many 10 year olds and 11 year olds spew out racist comments. Everyone always thinks that being a child automatically makes them innocent. This is not the case.

      I work at a mixed school. I'm African American, but speak Spanish and teach Spanish children learning English. People are so ridiculously ignorant, even some of the black teachers! I stand up for my kids every time someone says nonsense.

      Hopefully through stories like Melody's we create a future generation of tolerant, open-minded individuals. Though it's just one story, it really is a huge step forward.

  20. I agree with you on Lea. Why is she blonde? The girl they use for her in photos is a brunette! If she actually appeared to be Latina I might consider her, but nope, not happening. I am excited for Melody. I may not buy her (I live in a very small apartment and have three dolls already) but I will definitely be reading her books. I'm glad they didn't reduce the impact of the bombing. I think it's even more powerful when told from the perspective of a girl about the same age as the victims.

    By the way, you mentioned in an earlier post that you were thinking about showing how to do Addy's canon hairstyles. If you're feeling up to it, please do! I just got an Addy and I'm really excited about working with her hair.

  21. As a possible part of future I.T. turtles name...Terrapin starts with a T ;)

  22. One point confused me...Have there actually been people saying that Melody's stories are too scary and/or confusing for kids in the target age range, or is this bit preemptive? I have not yet read Melody's books but look forward to it.

    1. Given the pattern that said that Addy's were too scary when it came to life on the plantation and the worms, when Marta died, or when Kaya was kidnapped, I am sure someone somewhere will say hearing about a historical bombing is too scary for their child. It's preemptive based on patterns.

  23. Hey Neth, I'm here catching up on your blog posts and I had to comment here.

    I spent 5 hours with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth when I was a 17 yr old teenager a long way from home. He told all about the birth of the civil rights movement in the U.S. A painting of Dr King sat above him as he spoke and told me if the day those little girls died. One of the little girls was the same age as my daughter is now.

    The church was Revered Shuttlesworth's church, those children were his parishioners and he buried them.

    I have never ever forgotten that day or the conversation I had with him. I might also add that I had a junior cheerleader with me and her very conservative mother who spent the entire time looking like she was terrified some one was going to touch her. It was an extraordinary day.

    I have never forgotten those little girls and I never will.

    As soon as I saw Melody's picture I knew she would be coming here, along with all of her collection. She will always be Melody and her story will be her story, sorrow and all and I will read it together with my daughter. And together we can cry and remember and make sure that we treat everyone we meet with the respect they deserve regardless of colour or creed.

    1. Thank you for saying something because the same people are so ignorant about Addy. She was a slave so she was doing good by just surviving. Her family members were whipped and sold. She wasn't meant to have a fancy wardrobe or too many lavish things because had to escape and start a whole new life. Certain things you just can't sugarcoat about the history of black people in America.

  24. I'm white and I will never support the terrorism towards black people. We are all the same, we are all human, we just look different. It's called variety, just like what happens among white people themselves!!! When I read this book, I cried too thinking of how evil people can be. It saddens me even more how these people who killed the poor girls have set a stereotype for the white people. I have many black friends that I have known for years, and we will never stop being friends. Yet I always want to reach out to other black girls and woman and share love and encouragement, but sometimes I am pushed away. I hope Melody's story speaks to those who have hated on blacks for their whole lives and realize what they have done to our country! It affects more than black children and adults, it also affects those who are trying to spread the love of God to the world.

    1. I appreciate the sentiment but...you know I'm openly pagan, right? Christian sentiments don't really appeal to me when it comes to race. Also black people are not obligated to accept white encouragement, especially when it tends to be an underlying cause of assuaging white guilt.

    2. To add to what Neth said... "sharing love and encouragement" is not exactly the best way to ally. I get that your intentions are likely good (at least I want to think so) but to me it kind of comes across that you're angling for ally cookies rather than wanting to help. And at the end of the day that's not good, at all. You want the "ally" label without earning it. And then, pulling your religion into it isn't great either. Neth's openly and proudly pagan. I'm an atheist. She is the person you're trying to be an ally for, and I'm someone you'd want to try and get to become an ally (in a hypothetical world where I was not one already.) Talking about God-this and God-that is the quickest way to alienate the both of us. Leave the religion at the door.

      The best thing you can do to be an ally is listen. Stop talking for a minute and listen. Comparing an experience a person of color has had to a personal anecdote of your own is not constructive. Stop thinking that your innate wisdom or some personal experience has prepared you for a discussion. Just listen. And then offer to help. Speak OUT against injustice, make MORE allies. Start with the people around you, start with your social media. Speak OUT. Don't make it about you, because it's not ABOUT you.

    3. There are plenty of people who want to act as White Saviors delivering the White Man's Burden, hoping they look good in front of others while disregarding what the PoC they're "helping" have to say.

  25. I got shivers at the end of this. As a preacher's kid born and raised near Birmingham I've always heard about the bombing and it always terrified me even though I was white. Just the reckless loss of innocent life still makes me cry when I think about it.

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