As wildfires threaten parts of the world, this year's American Girl doll is helping her family protect their Australian wildlife sanctuary.

American Girl
Credit: American Girl

Each year American Girl releases a “doll of the year” with a rich backstory that gives children plenty to think about. A Doll of the Year tends to be topical compared to the brand’s famous historical dolls which let kids explore bygone eras. Last year Joss was a competitive athlete who wore a hearing aid and had a service dog. In 2019 Blaire worked her family’s farm-to-table restaurant and tried not to text all the time. The 2021 American Girl Doll is Kira, age 10, who helps her family protect their Australian wildlife sanctuary threatened by wildfires.

In the Kira Down Under novel, by Erin Teagan, our hero spends her summer abroad in Australia visiting her great aunts. She makes a friend, Alexis, and together they help care for injured and orphaned animals such as koalas for her aunts’ sanctuary and vet clinic in Queensland. While there Kira encounters a destructive bushfire that threatens all of it.

The Kira line also contains a nonfiction companion book called Love the Earth. It helps kids age 8 and up understand climate change and includes tips for living a more earth-friendly life. American Girl plans to present more events for budding environmentalists in April 2021.

American Girl
Kira's comfy platform tent.
| Credit: American Girl

Meanwhile, for the doll launch, American Girl is partnering with Australian Wildfire Charity WIRES which has been working overtime to deal with the last year’s disastrous bushfires that destroyed a fifth of Australia’s forests. American Girl has pledged to match customer donations to WIRES up to $25,000.

Kira and all of her accessories—our favorite is her platform-tent camp site—are for sale online and in American Girl stores, and kids can watch Kira videos on American Girl’s YouTube and YouTube Kids Channel. Kira and her book, for ages 8 and up, are $110 for the set or you can by the book only for $8.