Move Aside, American Girl Doll

hearts for heartsLast December, my husband and I took an entire day to do our Christmas shopping. The parental units were in town which meant we had endless free babysitting. Like good Mid-westerners, we hopped in our gas-guzzling minivan and drove the thirty-five minutes to the mecca of Kansas City shopping: Overland Park. We had Oak Park Mall at our disposal, not to mention Toys R Us and endless amounts of suburbia. (I’m sure all of you Midtowners are cringing at the thought of all of this consumerism but don’t pretend like you never take your hipster stroller down to The Plaza for a day of shopping, too. 🙂 )

Our first stop was at the American Girl Doll Store in Oak Park Mall. We had decided that our daughter, then five years old, would love an American Girl of her own. Her girl cousins have them and whenever they get together it’s a common way to pass the time. I loved the experience of the store. The helpful employees, the wide-eyed girls who were there to purchase their first doll (and the bratty kids who were complaining that their parents weren’t buying them the entire set of accessories), etc. I was a huge fan of the book series as a little girl so it was fun to see many of them in “real life” along with all of their accessories. All in all, it was so much fun to pick out the doll we wanted for our little girl. We drove home that day with the precious treasure stored away in the iconic red bag and tucked it deep into our closet until Christmas morning.

When the big day arrived, our daughter loved getting her American Girl doll, but my husband and I were a little disappointed by her reaction. She just kind of sat there and stared at it with a confused look on her face. We’ve since learned that she’s not as verbally expressive as we thought she was, but still, she didn’t scream for joy or wrap her little arms around our necks in appreciation. Needless to say, a tiny bit of our shopping day dreams were crushed that Christmas morning.

Eight months later, our daughter had a birthday and the beloved American Girl doll took a back seat to a new doll in town. For her sixth birthday, we took Renae to the Target in Tiffany Springs to spend her birthday money. Upon arrival, she made a beeline for the toy section. I wondered how she would spend her birthday money, but being a Target pro, my daughter knew just what aisle to head for: the doll aisle. Of course I assumed she would buy some accessories for her American Girl doll, but let’s be honest: American Girl stuff is EXPENSIVE. Thank goodness Target has a knock-off brand where you can get all kinds of cheaper accessories!  image

Right next to the Our Generation Dolls (Target’s knock-off brand) was a shelf of Hearts 4 Hearts Girls dolls. With my help, my daughter quickly had the four dolls available on the ground, examining each doll to decide which one she wanted to buy. If you’ve never heard of these dolls, let me fill you in. Each doll is about fourteen inches tall and each one represents a country from around the world. You can get Lilian from Belarus, Tipi from Laos, Zelia from Brazil, Nahji from India, Consuelo from Mexico, Rahel from Ethiopia, and Dell from the US. How cool is that? Renae debated and debated on which doll she wanted to take home with her and ultimately decided on Tipi from Laos. I think the story about Tipi resonated with her since Tipi “loves to draw, dance and help her father – a shadow puppet maker – tell the rich stories of her country.” Okay, my husband is not a puppet maker but my daughter does love to draw and dance.

If you’re wondering why I’m wasting space on a blog talking about my daughter’s dolls, listen up – it gets better. What makes these dolls so great is that a portion of each purchase goes to World Vision to help children in those countries better their communities. “Whether it’s malaria nets in Africa, schoolbooks in Asia, or food supplies in the US, these programs help girls to thrive and succeed.” (Read more here.)

Wow! By purchasing a DOLL, we get to help girls in other countries! I love this concept! You should know that I was not paid to write this post by Hearts 4 Hearts Girls and I am getting nothing (besides personal satisfaction) for spreading the word about these great dolls. I know that your little girl can choose from a wide variety of dolls, but these dolls are the only ones that will teach her to see the world through the eyes of a little girl just like her who lives in a different culture – in another part of this great world that we all live in. We are a global community. We may love Kansas City, and we may call Kansas City our home, but we must teach our daughters about the many great cultures that exist in this world. By doing this, we are really making Kansas City a better place to live. We happen to live on a street where my children play with kids from Nigeria, Ethiopia, and … Kansas City. The more experience they have with other cultures, the more they know how to respond to kids from another culture with kindness and respect. Kansas City is diverse. We are divided geographically and racially. There are refugees living here from all over the world. I believe that the more we teach our children about those that are different from us (both here in KC and abroad), the better our own community and world will become.

Kansas City moms, I want to encourage you all to consider buying one of these dolls. Usually, when we promote something that’s great on the blog, we try to offer a giveaway of that product. Today, we want to do something different here at Kansas City Moms Blog – we want YOU to take your daughter to your nearest Target, and let her choose one of these dolls. Let her read the stories on the box of each doll. Head to the the Hearts 4 Hearts Girls website and purchase one there. Go to Amazon and utilize your Amazon Mom membership. Show your daughter that there are lots of great girls out there in the world that we can appreciate and learn from. We realize this is a big ask. What would happen if every one of our readers bought a doll? I guess it means that lots of kids in Africa will be getting malaria nets and kids in Asia will get some books. Not too shabby . . .

If you feel inspired by this story and decide to buy a Hearts 4 Hearts Girls doll, would you please come back to this post and leave a comment letting us know about it? Or, take a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #KCMomsCare and tag @KCMomsBlog. It would be awesome to see how KC moms take action to care for little girls around the world through a purchase for their own little KC girls.


Hello! Kansas City has been our home for the past 3 years and we love it. We moved here after a 2 year stint in Madrid, Spain working for a Christian non-profit. Although I will always have a bad case of wanderlust, I’m a Midwest girl through and through. Educated at Iowa State University as a Spanish teacher, I taught K-6th grade students the joy of learning another language for 2 years. In 2007 I left the world of teaching and became a full time Mama to our first child Renae. Her little brothers Sammy and Colton arrived 2 and 4 years later and between the 3 of them, they keep me busy. I also work for the Skybridge Community which assists American expats as they adjust to and prepare for life in another country. I find great joy in connecting people together, meeting new people, and learning about those that are different from me. Most days you’ll find me spending my mornings at the YMCA where I like to get my Zumba groove on and ending each day watching House Hunters International. I’m looking forward to connecting with all of you great KC Moms!


  1. Thank you so much for telling me about these! I’m kind of sick of the options out there for my daughters and LOVE this idea of helping little girls around the world! THANKS!!

  2. I heard about these a long time ago but when I went to get them at the Target by Oak Park Mall, I couldn’t find them! Must be popular I guess? thanks for the Amazon link. I’ll check that out!

    • Clarissa, I usually only see a few at a time at a Target store. Sometimes only 4-5! I would be sure you check out the Amazon link or call your Target store and see if they have them in stock. Maybe then they’ll see that moms really do care about buying dolls that make a difference!

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