American Girl, a cornerstone in the Mattel portfolio of purposeful brands, introduces a new cast of contemporary characters —Makena Williams™, Evette Peeters™, and Maritza Ochoa™—whose stories reflect several important social issues, including racial equality, environmentalism, and immigration, and the value of working together to create a better world.

As told in a unique series of overlapping stories, the three young friends become passionate peers in speaking up for the causes they care about. Shared scenes told from multiple perspectives showcase each girl’s point of view and emphasize the importance of friendship, respect, fairness, and inclusion.

“American Girl was built on diverse and inclusive storytelling—narratives that have empowered an entire generation of girls to stand up for what they believe in with courage, resilience, and kindness,” said Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl. “We created the new World by Us line to accelerate our progress in diversifying our characters and stories to better reflect what it means to be an American girl today. Through Makena, Evette, and Maritza, as well as future characters to come, we hope our fans learn that they’re never too young to contribute to the larger conversation and help make the world a more inclusive, unified place.”

To bring the World by Us characters to life, American Girl engaged the following acclaimed writers:

  • Angela Cervantes author of Maritza: Lead with Your Heart. Maritza is a caring, take-action kind of girl who loves celebrating her Latina heritage—from the delicious food to her community’s music-filled festivals. A leader on and off the soccer field, she finds her passion in advocating for others, especially helping to keep immigrant families together.

  • Denise Lewis Patrick author of Makena: See Me, Hear Me, Know Me. Makena loves art and her close-knit family, with ties tracing back to Kenya, but her real passion is fashion, which she uses to express her views. After experiencing a racist incident in her own front yard, Makena uses her style to speak up about injustice.

  • Sharon Dennis Wyeth author of Evette: The River and Me. Evette loves vintage clothes, upcycling, and protecting nature, including the Anacostia River near her home. When she discovers racism in her own biracial family, she works hard to heal her world—family, friends, river, and all.

The following team of advisers also collaborated on the project, offering real-world insights and reviewing manuscripts and the product line for cultural authenticity and accuracy:

  • Katrina Lashley: program coordinator at Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum and leader in the Women’s Environmental Leadership Initiative

  • Yasmine Mabene: California State Director of March for Our Lives, social media coordinator of Earth Uprising, and student at Stanford University

  • M. Lucero Ortiz: Deputy Director for Kids in Need of Defense, Mexico, and human rights attorney who represented migrant families and unaccompanied children before the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice

  • Dr. Deborah Rivas-Drake: professor of psychology and education at the University of Michigan, who studies how teens navigate issues of race, ethnicity, racism, and xenophobia

  • Deanna Singh: founder of Flying Elephant, a consulting firm that helps women and people of color become social entrepreneurs, and author of four children’s books about racism, including American Girl’s new Smart Girl’s Guide™: Race & Inclusion

  • Naomi Wadler: teen activist focused on racial justice. At age 11 she was the youngest speaker at the 2018 March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.

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