Holiday Gift Guide: 20 Brown Dolls
(and Why the American Girl Addy Doll Doesn’t Bother Me So Much)

One of the companies that sent me a doll to review for editorial consideration was American Girl. (You have until tomorrow to enter to win an American Girl doll.) After posting an image of the doll on Facebook, it started an interesting discussion…

One of my friends mentioned that she wasn’t too happy when she had received an AG catalog. While the other dolls of various ethnicities were fashionably dressed, the black doll was dressed liked a poor person. She was so upset that she threw out the magazine. Well alrighty then!

I don’t work for American Girl and I have had my own issues with them in the past (regarding price), but I felt the need to share an alternate view. The doll that she had seen was the historical American Girl Addy doll.

The doll is described on the AG site as the following:

“An inspirational side of the Civil War era comes to life in the courageous story of Addy Walker. Along with her mother, Addy is escaping slavery to find her father and brother, who’ve been sold away. Once Addy arrives in Philadelphia, she hopes that her family will be together again soon—and discovers that freedom isn’t always fair.”

I studied African-American and Women’s History and Sociology in college, so I actually don’t mind the doll. While I can see why it could be offensive, slavery is a (awful) part of Black history. The other reason that I’m not offended is that there are other brown doll options…by other companies and by American Girl. Cecile and the customizable “My American Girl” line that has several beautiful medium and dark skin dolls that you can customize to your daughter’s style are the two other brown doll options from American Girl. On a side note, my “issue” with the dolls in the past was purely economic. They are expensive. However, I have been volunteering with girls so I know the popularity of these American Girl dolls. Some little girls are OBSESSED with them. Frankly, that doesn’t bother me as much anymore when I consider all of the other awful things that they could be fixated on!

Moving on…there are also many other different brown doll options from a variety of companies. I remember that when I was growing up, there was two…three options tops. Now, just looking through toy mailers, I can easily find over twenty options in addition to the three American Girl dolls. Brown doll images might not be where everyone wants them to be (they are still more likely to be “friends” than the focus of lines; limited stock availability; more expensive; etc.) but we’ve come a long way baby (i.e. Doc McStuffins)! Below are some other brown doll options…

1. Aisha (Winx)

2. American Girl Addy Doll

3. Baby Alive Dolls

4. American Girl Cecile Doll and Paperback Book

5. Cabbage Patch Kids doll

6. Christie (Barbie’s friend)

7. Corolle is one of my favorite lines that carry brown dolls. I have written about Naima (from the Mon Premier line for babies). My niece grew SO attached to her! This year I received the Tidoo Candy Graceful and the new Cecile doll for editorial consideration. The Tidoo is a bath doll that I think will make bathtime more enjoyable for little ones, but the Cécile fashion doll is the one that I think girls will love the most this holiday season.

8. Doc McStuffins

9. Dot Starlight (Lalaloopsy)

10. Iridessa (Disney Fairies)

11. Barbie So In Style Kara And Kianna dolls

12. Little Mommy doll

13. Loving Family dolls

14. Madame Alexander dolls

15. Orange Blossom (Strawberry Shortcake Friend)

16. Robecca Steam (Monster High) doll

17. Tamae (Groovy Girls)

18. Taryn (Journey Girls)

19. Disney Princess Tiana (including their toddler doll)

20. You & Me dolls

{Post images courtesy of my Amazon affiliate partner}

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  1. D Schmidt says

    You know I had never thought about the American Girl Addy in this way before but you are right and I am thrilled Doc McStuffins now exists because she is a much better role model than some of the dolls I recall from my childhood. I grew up in England and black dolls were non existent and if they were they had some rather interesting names, I also always resented a particular brand of preserve for its very outdated logo and name.

  2. says

    Your boys are so big now. Time really flies.
    Thank you so much for posting this. I have two sons but I LOVE dolls. I have a porcelain doll collection featuring all African American dolls and they are all beautiful, dressed in period pieces. I plan on buying two or three of the dolls you listed this Christmas. Thank you – I really like Taryn and Cecile.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

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