What I love about the American Girl Be Forever Collection is that each doll has a historical story that your child can learn from. These stories make us think of the time in which that doll would have lived and give us a glimpse into her customs and culture. It also gives us perspective of how far we have come.
The spotlight this month is on Kaya. Kaya is a Nez Perce Indian growing up in 1764 in the Northwest. In 1764, the Nez Perez way of life depended on horses, which had been brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Horses were highly valued by many Native American tribes because they enabled faster travel and better hunting. The Nez Perce became expert riders and breeders, developing the spotted Appaloosa horses, as they are known today.
Kaya’s stories are set at the height of Nez Perce horse culture, before direct contact with others began changing their way of life. Her stories show what it was like to grow up as a Nez Perez: how the Indians lived close to the land, getting everything they needed from it; how they made food, clothing, shelter, and other goods; how each member of the tribe depended on the others; and how knowledge was passed down from the elders to the children, so they could carry their traditions and knowledge into the future.
They are currently six books in the series that relate to Kaya:
These books were authored by Janet Shaw
Book 1: Meet Kaya
Kaya dreams of racing her beautiful mare Steps High. Her father warns her that the horse isn’t ready, but when a pesky boy insults Steps High, Kaya accepts his challenge to race. As they ride, Kaya loses sight of her little brothers. Her carelessness earns her a nickname that her friends won’t let her forget.
Book 2: Kay’s Escape
Enemy raiders are invading Kaya’s village! Kaya’s mother tells her to run for the woods with her blind sister, Speaking Rain. But as Kaya tries to protect her horse, she and Speaking Rain are captured! How will they ever get back home?
Book 3: Kaya’s Hero
When Swan Circling saves a baby on a runaway horse, Kaya is awed by the young warrior woman’s bravery. She wants to be strong like Swan Circling—but can she?
Book 4: Kaya and Lone Dog
Kaya misses Speaking Rain so much! She’s glad to find a new friend in Lone Dog but realizes it will take time to earn her trust.
Book 5: Kaya Shows the Way
As summer approaches, Kaya is hoping for news of her lost sister Speaking Rain. Meanwhile, her older sister, Brown Deer, will soon be married, and Kaya is worried—is she about to lose her other sister, too?
Book 6: Changes for Kaya
Speaking Rain has returned! As Kaya joins a hunting party traveling into the mountains, she’s hopeful that she’ll find her beloved horse, Steps High, too
They are points that you can use to talk to your child about the history of this time, so of them are listed below to give you a guideline.
The Nez Perce Indians
Before European contact, most Native Americans lived in small villages or groups in which everybody knew one another. Like the Nez Perez, many tribes traveled with the seasons, going where the food was best, and returning to more permanent villages for the winter.
Living Close to the Land
In 1774, the Nez Perce did many things differently than we do today-yet they had everything they needed and plenty of time for fun.
Learning from the Elders
Nez Perez children were expected to help the adults in their daily tasks of gathering, preserving and preparing food; making clothing and shelter; and caring for the younger children and the tribe’s herd of horses. Adults also shared their wisdom about how to get along with others and how to survive in difficult circumstances. In this sense, all the adults in the village were teachers, and all the children were students learning the Nez Perez way of life.
How fascinating all of this is, and you child can learn all of this and so much more through these wonderful books.
Now I have some really exciting news the great people at American Girl want to give you a chance to kick off this series and give a lucky a reader a chance to win their own Grace doll. Please join us again next month, for the next part of this series, and all year long
All you have to do is leave comment and follow me on twitter, instagram, pinterest, or facebook.
Please make sure to include your email so that you will be notified if you win.
This contest will run from January 12, 2015 to March 1, 2015
Disclaimer: I am working in collaboration with American Girl on this series; however all opinions expressed here are my own.