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Darby Community Library

American Girl Book and Doll Club

HISTORY

The American Girl Book and Doll Club was established in November, 2011. We meet the first Friday of the month during the school year at the Darby Community Library, 101 S Marshall, Darby, MT.

We are a very small community, population 700, but we have twelve girls between 6 and 12 that participate in our club. I accidentally got involved the 2011 - 2012 school year when our Librarian, asked if I would come to a meeting in November of 2011 and share some of my dolls with the girls. I had so much fun, I just kept coming! This is my second school year that  I am the volunteer leader of the club. I absolutely love working with these girls.

We have Book Talk in our meetings where the girls share a book they have read including American Girl books and other fiction and non-fiction books about history, dolls, girls and women. Sometimes we have a guest speaker.

 We also have an activity for the girls. We have made Marti Gras masks, handbags, and sandals for our dolls.  The girls decorated plain white aprons and chef’s hats using fabric markers and have made doll-sized Holiday Tree skirts and some miniature decorations. We've made tiny Tirick or Treat Bags for our dolls and spicers out of lollipops.

We also took photos of our dolls (in their underwear) printed and laminated them to make 10” paper dolls. The girls designed and made paper clothes for their paper dolls and we displayed them in the library the whole month of July 2012. The paper dolls were a very big hit. Several of the girls made whole wardrobes for their paper dolls between meetings and one of our older girls designed a pajama, robe and slippers outfit, and then sewed it for her doll. Too cute!

Clothes swap day is everyones favorite! What fun to bring doll clothes and accessories and trade with other club members for something new and different.

In March 2013 we learned about the Friendship Doll Exchange between the USA and Japan in 1927. We made origami lotus flower cups for nuts and candies and had tea and Japanese dessert. The Montana Historical Society Museum in Helena, MT has Miss Ishikawa with many of her accessories. She has been with the museum for 86 years! She is fragile and frequently not displayed, so check first before visiting.

Each year we are have a contest. Girls get "points" for attending a meeting, bringing their doll, teddy bear, toy or book to the meeting, bringing a friend, helping others, participating in Book Talk or other activity. The prize for 2013/2014 is an 18" doll size stylist chair that goes up and down and has a foot rest.

We now have a sister club! The Lakeland Florida Public Library sponsors a large club that meets all year long. We have exchanged letters, photos, and craft ideas with our new friends in Florida. Both clubs are writing a newsletter so that girls in both clubs can see what the other club is doing. We have special columns "written" by our Ambassodor dolls and by our animal friends. Each month our girls will submit articles, stories, poems, drawings and photos to include in the issue. Each month we will also have a Member Profile article about one of the girls in the club. Click here to see our newsletters.

The 2013/2014 School Year

The Doll Fairy is coming to our May 2014 meeting! She will present an American Girl doll to the girl whose name is drawn from the Doll Fairy box. Girls who do not have an American Girl doll may enter their name in the drawing at every meeting they attend throughout the school year.

October 2013 was the kickoff Meet and Greet meeting. The girls brought their dolls and bears dressed in Halloween costoms and our Ambassador Dolls, Summer and Darby, dressed up like Alice and the White Rabbit from Through the Looking Glass (Alice in Wonderland). We made tiny Trick or Treat bags for our dolls and spiders out of lolly pops and pipe cleaners.

Girl of the Month, October - Sophia

The November 2013 meeting theme was Fancy Nancy - a doll based on the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O'Connor. Summer and Darby dressed up real fancy and so did all the girls dolls. We made Fancy Nancy paper dolls and dressed them with hankies. We just used tape so that after the girls finished playing with their paper dolls, they could easily remove the hanky to use or give to thier mom, aunt, grandmother or special friend. Hankies are so much fancier than tissue! We also tasted some Atlantic Ocean sea water. Really salty. 

Girl of the Month, November - Kiera

The December 2013 meeting theme was Teddy Bears. Evenyone brought plush toys and we learned about how Teddy Bears got their name. In 1902, then President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in Mississippi and refused to shoot a black bear. Ideal Toy company got permission to call their plush bear Teddy Bear and the name stuck. Summer and Darby wore their fancy Chirstmas dresses and hosted a Teddy Bear Christmas Tea Party for our plush animal friends. We made doll size Teddy Bears out of felt too.

Girl of the Month, December - Kenzee

The January 2014 meeting theme was The Great Depression. We learned so much about the hard times created by the financial crisis and the drought and how children were impacted, and how they helped their parents. Darby and Summer dressed in clothes re-made from old nightgowns, shirts and dresses. Peter dressed as a hobo. We made puppets out of newspaper, like children might have made during the Depression.

Girl of the Month, January - Bella

The February 2014 meeting theme was Mardi Gras. Everyone dressed their dolls in fancy gowns and masks for the Mardi Gras masquerade ball. We had lots of fun learning about Mardi Gras, how it started, how people celebrate, and how much they ate before Lent. We made Mardi Gras floats out of shoe boxes, wrapping paper, beads, ribbons and other found items. See the Newsletter for more information and photos and don't miss King Albert on the Mardi Gras Zoo float!

Girl of the Month, February - Keyia

The March 2014 meeting theme was the circus. Everyone dressed their dolls as circus performers. We had clowns, acrobats, lion tamers and elephant trainers. We talked about Beth MacDonalds book To Be A Clown, at true story about a 12-year old boy who ran away from an orphanage in 1945 to join the circus. We walked a tightrope (laying on the floor so we wouldn't break anything), made pompoms to decorate a clown outfit or to wear in our hair or on our shoes, and took home instructions to juggle.

Girl of the Month, March - Anise

 

The April 2014 meeting theme was the Lewis and Clark Expedition with special emphasis on Sacajawea. Everyone dressed their dolls as explorers, pioneers, and American Indians. The book of the month was Sacajawea: the story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Joseph Bruchac. This book is historical fiction and is written from both Sacajawea and Clark’s points of view. Each chapter begins with a Shoshone legend or an excerpt from Clark’s journals. Our craft project was to make felt satchels to carry tiny journals so our dolls and teddy bears can record their adventures. A special presentation was made of doll size Lewis and Clark tee shirt donated to the club by Lois of Hamilton Montana. Thank you Lois!

Summer modeling the Lewis and Clark tee shirt

The May 2014 meeting theme was Cinco de Mayo. We learned about the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 when the Mexican army defeated much larger and better equipped French forces. We dressed our dolls and bears in Hispanic costumes and tried to learn to dance La Vaquerita. We need a lot of practice! The highlight of the meeting was drawing the name of the winner for a real American Girl doll. The lucky winner was Kiera! Kiera won a My American Girl doll with layered caramel colored hair and blue eyes, and a whole wardrode of clothes and shoes and purses and hats! Congratulations Kiera.

Kiera with her My American Girl Doll

The Darby American Girl Book and Doll Club does not meeting during the summer. Watch this page for information about our 2014/2015 school year program. The first meeting will be in October, 2014. Hope to see you there! 

 

Participate in the Club

If you have a child in the Darby area and would like to participate, please email me. If you have a library, doll club, Girl Scout troop, or other organization that would like to start or expand a book and doll club, I'll be happy to help. If you have a book and doll club or other club for girls, we'd love to hear from you and share ideas and suggestions to get children interested in dolls, books, and history. Email Kay at schrader1501@blackfoot.net.

The Darby Community Library American Girl Book and Doll Club

Halloween Costumes 

Thanksgiving aprons and chefs hats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaya welcomes Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea                                   Making felt satchels

 

The 2013/2014 school year prize for most points.