This might have been the doll that got me interested in dolls when I was a girl. She not only lives in the Southwest, rides horses, and has auburn hair, she is also passionate about the arts in education. As a teen, I rode in shows and, given half a chance, I would jump back on a horse tomorrow. I also played two instruments, was a theater major in college, and taught art history.
I had the opportunity to interview Jessie Haas, author of the American Girl book series for Saige Copeland. Now, let’s take a look at Saige! She’s just adorable, of course. Her face is very sweet, with freckles and startlingly blue eyes–they really are as vivid as the promo photographs; I couldn’t capture the color in the lighting in my house. She comes with her Auburn hair in a single braid.
My daughter really appreciates the quality in her dolls now and she was very taken with the details on Saige. Saige has pierced ears and earings and a removable turquoise ring in a Navajo style.
Very important for an equestrian, Saige wears practical, yet stylish, boots. I just love the stitching and the little buckle!
I think the soft blue dress with the Navajo woven belt is just so sweet. You can see the pattern in the belt is done with woven stitches, instead of just being printed on.
I know, though, that my daughter is going to be saving up her money for this beautiful fuchsia pink and gold dress with a flower necklace and gold boots Saige wears to the balloon fiesta for her 10th birthday in the second book.
Speaking of the books, it is Saige’s story that really makes me thrilled to welcome her into my home. My daughter has already read the first book and is eager to get the second one. When we first meet Saige, she is struggling to acclimate to her new school year. We find out that music and visual arts alternate at her school due to the budget crunch. Saige, who loves to paint, is devastated that there will be no art class for her this year. To make things worse, she is feeling less connected with her best friend, who went to music camp over the summer. Without spoiling the rest of the plot, Saige teams up with her friends and combines her passion for horses and art to make a difference in her community.
In fact, in conjunction with introducing Saige, American Girl is launching an Elevate the Arts School Grant Contest: Starting January 1, elementary art teachers can enter to win one of thirteen grants totaling $45,000 for their schools’ art programs by submitting a digital image of a hot-air-balloon-themed art project and a written essay that conveys why the arts matter in their schools. Entries must be received via the online form by May 31, 2013.
When I was in high school, the arts meant the world to me. I had always loved music and performing, and the stage was one of the few places I felt really safe at school. And the art teacher was a caring woman who helped me really “see” the world. I had to take an art class freshman year and she told us, “Never say, ‘I can’t,’ only say, ‘I have not yet learned to…'” I took these words to heart and by senior year I was submitting my portfolio for AP Art.
My daughter is in a Daisy Girl Scout troop and I see so many connections between Saige’s story and what our troop does together. Our troop is learning about the importance of caring for animals. We also spend a lot of time volunteering together in our community. And we always sing about how important it is to “make new friends but keep the old.” There are so many themes woven together of expressing yourself, connecting with your friends, appreciating inter-generational relationships, bonding with animals, and helping your community. I’m happy to share Saige Copeland’s positive message with my daughter and look forward to learning more. Maybe we’ll even be able to take a trip to the Southwest like I did with my family when I was a girl.
As the author says, “What ties the whole story together is love.”
WANT IT: Find Saige, games, an excerpt from her book, the Elevate the Arts Grant Contest, and more at American Girl.