These Books Made Me

American Girl - Addy

October 07, 2021 Prince George's County Memorial Library System Season 1 Episode 9
These Books Made Me
American Girl - Addy
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On we trek through the American Girls canon as we journey through Addy Walker's world. We explore the formation of the Addy advisory committee, Connie Porter's writing style, and the way the series presents slavery and the Civil War time period to children. We discuss how this Harriet also might be a sociopath and how colorism is depicted in the text and in the illustrations, with a sidebar about the controversy surrounding the Addy illustrators and their work. All of us want to wear Addy's Christmas dress, reminisce about double dutch, and wish we could give poor Sarah (who deserved a spinoff!) a hug. Once again we have some real questions about AG chronologies and the economy of spool puppets. We also talk about the impact of Addy and just how revolutionary the Addy doll's textured hair was. Sadly, we also discover that none of us are all that great at spelling bees. We are joined by a very special guest who is foundational to the creation of Addy Walker and her story.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at https://pgcmls.medium.com/.                                       
                                       
We mentioned a lot of topics and articles in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some of them if you want to do your own further research:

Links:
The Creation of Addy Walker: https://slate.com/culture/2016/09/the-making-of-addy-walker-american-girls-first-black-doll.html
Connie Porter: https://iridescentwomen.com/2020/02/28/connie-porter-on-writing-the-american-girl-collection-series-addy/
Addy's Hair: https://www.salon.com/2021/05/15/we-were-american-girls-what-addy-taught-me-about-black-hair-freedom-and-myself/
Spelling bee words:https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/08/us/spelling-bee-words.html

Hawa:

Hi, I'm Hawa

Heather:

I'm Heather.

Kelsey:

And I'm Kelsey.

Hawa:

And this is our podcast. These Books Made Me. Today, we're going to be continuing our American Girl series of episodes with Addy and her original six books, friendly warning as always. This podcast contains spoilers. If you don't yet know who eats our cookie dough words, proceed with caution. We have a special guest today joining us. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Candice:

Hi everyone. My name is Candice Washington and I work at the Bowie Branch library and Addy was definitely my favorite American Girl.

Heather:

Addy was your favorite American girl. What about everybody else? What do the Addy books mean to you guys? Was this your first time reading it? Did you read them as kids?

Kelsey:

I never read the Addy books before actually. So this was my first time reading it and , um , I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.

Hawa:

I don't remember anything about American Girl as a child. Um, so when I heard that we were going to be doing the American Girl series and like I had started hearing people talk about , um, Addy, I was especially excited to read her books because she was like, one of them, the Black girls like me,

Candice:

It was kind of my first introduction to , uh, seeing representation in literature as a kid. So she represented, I guess the beginning of my book era. Um, and I really enjoyed reading her because I could not only see myself, but I could also learn about things that I would anticipate. I, you know, growing up as a young Black woman. So that was, she resonated with me heavily. Yeah.

Heather:

I looking back on it. I think I was in middle school when I read a couple of the Addy books and my memory is reading them to a younger child at a church, like vacation Bible school thing that I was like volunteering at when I was in middle school. But I don't think I read the whole series until my daughter had Addy. And then I read them as part of her having that doll, who now has lipstick on her. I was telling Hawa, like I went to get her out. I was like, I'll bring out he today. And I was like, oh no. Why, why did you color her lips red?

Kelsey:

Uh , makeover is the most fun thing to do ever. You definitely won't regret that later.

Heather:

And she can she go to the doll hospital to get her like, permanent makeup removed.

Kelsey:

We might find out in a future episode of this podcast stay tuned. All right. Well, Candice, I think you might have brought us some information about the author of this series. Would you like to tell us some more?

Candice:

Sure. So Connie Rose Porter was born in 1959. She was from Buffalo, New York, and she always loved reading. Even as a child, she used to walk through the deep snows of Buffalo, New York to borrow books from the bookmobile that came to her neighborhood twice a week. She was raised in a housing project and she was the third youngest of nine children. Um, when she went to earn her degrees from SUNY Albany and Louisiana State University, with her degree, she also went to teach English and Creative Writing at Milton Academy, Emerson and Southern Illinois University. She was a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers conference and was a regional winner and Granta's Best Young American Novelists contest. So American Girl published 11 of her Addy books between 1983 and 2003 as a part of its American Girl collection series. And in conjunction with the Addy Walker doll, which was the first non - white doll of its American Girl collection. So I have a quote, she was asked, how has she described herself as a writer? And she shared in her book, Imani, All Mine that "I would describe myself as a black female writer. I surely have been Black and female all my life. And now because I am a writer, I do not want to stop describing myself in that way. I do not fear that because there is some descriptive tag before the word writer, I will be pigeonholed. Racism and sexism are what can pigeonhole you. They can limit you or even stop you. Not describing myself as a Black woman will not prevent that from happening.

Hawa:

I love that quote, thank you for sharing.

Candice:

Oh, no problem.

Heather:

I do too. And I think this is an interesting one because Connie Porter was hand - picked. She was chosen to write this series and we've had some of the past girls hodgepodge of different authors working on this series. So I think this is interesting that they really went out and found an author who was established rather than just here are some textbook writers I know. So I thought it was reflected in the books' quality.

Hawa:

The consistency definitely worked for the series

Heather:

Speaking of, let's dive right into the books. First Addy book is Meet Addy. Addy Walker has grown up enslaved on a North Carolina plantation with her father, mother, brother, and baby sister. After Master Steven sells her father and her brother, Sam to another plantation owner, Addy and her mother make a dangerous bid for freedom and set out for Philadelphia.

Candice:

This book was a lot, guys. It was a lot, especially as a kid. I remember reading about them, making Addy, eat the worms on the plantation. I remember them going over her getting whipped. I think when her father was getting sold and when you're reading as a kid, I don't really know if it fully registered with me then, but going back and reading, I was like, this is literary trauma.

Kelsey:

Yeah,

Candice:

it was a lot. But I think it's a necessary way to introduce children to the realities of slavery. It's like very concise and condensed. It's not prescribed as graphic as it was in real life or maybe more adult literature. But I think it was a necessary introduction to what she went through to understand why her adjusting to freedom was so hard or important.

Kelsey:

Yeah. What you're saying reminds me of what our community expert was talking about in our last episode about how kids need to see things like this. And it's not as traumatic for them as it is for us as adults having so much more context in the world, but it does help them introduce them to those things that we shouldn't shy away from it. And I appreciated that the books really tackled that because yeah, the worm scene was really hard to read.

Heather:

Yeah, it's visceral. That worm scene sticks with you. Like that's the, that's the thing that I really remembered out of the Addy books. Cause it was, it was so uniquely horrific. You know, I think the, the whipping of her brother that's described when he ran away , um, the selling of her family members, like a lot of the things that were happening on the plantation were ideas that by the time I came to the books, I had already been exposed to in some way in history class, through movies, but the eating the worms was so different from anything I had seen depicted before. And it, it it's revolting, you know, it's stomach turning. You're, you're really in the moment with her when it happens. And I thought this author did a really good job of showing her life, rather than just telling you she was living on a plantation. And these are things that happen to people on plantations. Like you really were in the experience with her as you read the books. And I think that that was really well done. And I think as much more impactful for a child to see it through a child's eyes, rather than have a told as like, these are historical things that happened at the time, which gives you a distance that you can't get during that worm scene.

Hawa:

Yeah. That worm, that worm scene. That was the first I'd ever heard of anything like that. But I think it's, it would have been difficult for them to set up a story, six books down the line and say, oh, she was a slave. And not at least kind of give some kind of insight/context on like, you know , um, how much they really kind of struggled before they made it to freedom. I was actually surprised that they did make it to freedom by the end of the first book, I thought that they were going to try to like stretch it out, but I'm almost kind of [inaudible] did it. Cause it was just like, well, we need to talk about this, but we're not going to like make it the whole,

Kelsey:

The stakes are so much higher for Addy than they are for any other girl that we've read. Probably Kirsten does the only other one where there's some, some really stressful stuff that happens in the first book. But even for Kirsten, you know, they're headed to this new life. Like they have hope and they're kind of have forward momentum, but for Addy, she's really stuck in it. And it's not clear that she's going to make it out. I mean, you know, you follow them through and they're trying to leave, but it's so much more real and so much more upsetting , um , to read Addy's book. And I think they really throw you in with this book in a way that they don't with some of the others.

Heather:

Yeah. I think the only other character that we've looked at in the American Girl universe who's had any kind of palpable peril. Like this was Nellie, but obviously Nellie was just a side character. Like she didn't have her own agency in the story. We weren't seeing things through her eyes. There was another part where I thought it was a very minor scene, but I felt like what the author was doing was something really subtle where it landed one way for a child, but a different way for an adult. The scene inside the house, when the two plantation owners are talking about selling her, her dad and her brother and the neighboring plantation owner, like compliments to the master, like how good she is, like, she's doing a good job serving. And like he wants to buy her. And he like puts his hand on her head and you know, as a child, I think it's just like, oh no, this is horrible. I hope Addy doesn't have to go with this person. But as an adult, there was just like an extra layer of like how sinister and like, it felt so loaded with multiple things. It wasn't just like, oh, this is a child who might be sold. It was, would she get raped if she went with this man, what would happen? You know, we've said repeatedly with these, these are books for eight year olds. They're not books for an adult. You know, you don't get a whole lot of substance out of them as an adult reading them. But this one, I thought that there were definitely flashes of that, where it was like, well, this is just actually really sophisticated writing and it's working really well.

Kelsey:

Yeah.

Candice:

Just knowing that Connie Porter and the board that was created for them, for the Addy girl books, wanted it to be historically accurate. And they, you know, talked to historians, they had talked to pastors, they had talked to, they'd gone on, I think a field trip to a museum, I read in one of the interviews with Connie Porter. You definitely can see, like you said, the nuanced behaviors and mannerisms reading between the lines as an adult, not even just wondering, was he going to buy Addy and breed her essentially because that's how slaves were viewed as property, as animals as objects.

Heather:

And then just to circle back to what you were saying with the advisory board that was convened to write these stories, this was the first time that Pleasant Company did something like this for the other girls. They just kind of assigned it to a writer and they had some general things that they wanted to make sure they hit, you know, historic topics. And then they wrote around those and this was much more intentional. They had very prestigious experts on this board of people who worked on this series , um, from a variety of backgrounds, you know, from a museum and history background. They also have people in the arts, a pretty well-rounded board of people. So they were coming at it from a lot of different angles in terms of what can children handle, what we get through in these books that's important. And, and that people need to know about, again, I think we've been struck by how often American Girls will like touch on one topic like it's mentioned, and then they just never get to it again. And this, if something came up, they almost always actually addressed it in some way or they showed it so that there was an understanding for the child.

Hawa:

Yeah. It being, I think it being the first non-white American Girl and also the way they're talking about something as serious and , um, uh, slavery, they had no choice, but to be historically accurate. So I'm glad that they went about it the way that it did. And I think that's part of why the Addy books resonate with so many people. Yeah,

Candice:

I know we're still covering meets Addy but can we talk about the mom having to leave Esther behind?

Heather:

Say like, she's going to be too. If she cries, she could give us up. If, if she's, you know, we're having to carry her, it will slow us down too much. And Auntie Lula and Uncle Solomon will raise her. They'll take care of her. Just the choice, obviously that her mom had to make in that moment is heartbreaking. And a choice that no parent should ever have to make.

Kelsey:

They explain the reasonings, why they were leaving Esther. Cause at first I definitely thought it was like a Titanic situation. Like Jack could definitely fit on that door, you know? [Laughter] Or are you just making this up to add extra context? But then when her mom said the thing about, you know, she could cry and give us away, I was like, that makes total sense. And I understand why she would have to make that very, very, very difficult decision. But I also wanted to just bring in, cause we always like to check in on the Friends and Family section and thank goodness this time it is not labeled Friends and Family. Like I was very concerned because they do have the slave master as one of the characters pictured, which I thought was an interesting choice, but at least they did not call it Friends and family. They just left the section on labeled and it was like a general like meet the people who are in this book.

Heather:

Yeah. Cause in the past they've definitely included people in the friends and family section that were not friends.

Kelsey:

Like enemies.

Heather:

Like actual enemies or like villains in the story like Jiggy Nye so I, yeah, I was also glad to see that they were sensitive enough to the circumstances in this one to not make that mistake and take the label off. And then the labels do come back in later books.

Hawa:

Oh yeah. So that was definitely intentional. Yeah.

Candice:

And even to make it very clear to the kids, like this is the difference versus who the master is. Right. And the, you know, you just look and you're like, okay, I see the master is white ,they're black. I can see what's going on. Kind of connecting the dots as a kid. It's, it's, it's subtle, but it at least lets you know, like more about the dynamic, what was going on.

Kelsey:

Right. I think we're going to talk more about the back matter later, but I did feel like it was much more robust this time around. But one thing that I appreciated in this book was that it talked about the different forms of protest that enslaved people would enact. Um, and I think that's really good for kids to read just because I think so often when they hear about like what it means to protest or engage in activism, it's like you March and you like write letters to Congress and you like go to a rally and like, those are all like important and valid, but there's also like other ways that you can like chip away at the, the thing that's oppressing you, that aren't necessarily like loud protests. They talked about the different ways that enslaved people would kind of like break machines or like kind of like.

Heather:

Work more slowly,

Kelsey:

Yeah work slowly, things like that. That would kind of like get back at the master without having to like get themselves in trouble or put themselves in danger, I think is really useful for kids to read about and good for them to, to be aware of.

Heather:

Okay. So let's move on to Addy Learns a Lesson. Mama finds work in a small Philadelphia dress shop and Addy begins to attend school and meets a new friend named Sarah. Addy admires her snobby classmate, Harriet and is thrilled when Harriet seems to include her in her clique. Addie learns a hard lesson about the true meaning of friendship, but manages to teach Harriet a lesson as well when she beats her in a spelling bee,

Hawa:

Start off by saying that this might be one of my favorite ones in the series.

Heather:

Me too.

Hawa:

I liked that they touched on the importance of education and uh , what it was like for different people from different walks of life during time, even if they were all Black and Harriet. I mean, I think we all kind of hate Harriet right at this point in the series anyway, because it's just like Addy, literally just escaped slavery adhere. You are literally saying, Hey, I'm going to make you my slave like wow, kids are cruel

Kelsey:

I think that's a really big through line of all of these books is like kids are cruel and they will find something to other each other. Like they they're very focused on like differences and, and picking at those. And the way that Harriet tries to like elevate herself among her peers, because she doesn't believe that her family was enslaved.

Candice:

I know we're, we'll get to the illustrators changing at some point. But Harriet is like described and illustrated at one point as having a lighter complexion, thinking about how African-Americans, who were free or who were freed from slavery, having preference or some sort of higher societal status compared to those with darker complexion in this time period, dealing with colorism in the black community must have been crazy frustrating because you see people who are offered some sort of preference store priority over yourself and knowing that you all were just doing the same work on the same plantations, like a week to three a month ago, because it's, to some degree it's going to pit them against each other like, oh, I wish I had. And why don't I and you see Harriet being a prime example. You know, thinking that, oh, because I wasn't born into slavery and you can imagine she's thinking, oh, I have a lighter complexion. I'm prettier. I have nicer clothes. I have nicer hair. Um , I'm better than Addy. So she looks down on her and treat her as such/

Hawa:

It makes me wonder what Harriet's parents were like, because , um , not to say that, you know, she has to be a direct reflection of her family, but for her to have that kind of mindset, like, oh, we don't come from slaves. Like she must have heard that somewhere. Or there must've been something that was omitted to her when talking about like her family history or even they probably just give off that same mindset of like, oh, well we're better than those people. So like that would have been interesting to hear.

Kelsey:

Yeah. And you wonder if it stems from like wanting to put that part of your history behind you and move forward and like buy into this American dream of like, we are free. We are equal. Like if we just believe that maybe that'll become true.

Heather:

True. It wasn't just that Harriet was not including Addy, but then kind of included her in a manipulative and pretty cruel way is also that Harriet had completely excluded Sarah to the point that Sarah had like internalized, they're just never going to want anything to do with me. Sarah is my favorite character. [Laughter]

Kelsey:

Oh yeah.

Hawa:

Heather just wants to give Sarah a hug.

Heather:

I do. Like, I just felt for Sarah, like every step of the way, because she was just such a joyful little person. And so kind to everyone in spite of, we have repeated instances of people being just really mean to her at school and that had to be hard. And then like obviously her home life was hard. She was doing all of this work to help her mom with the washing, but then she was still like helping Addy make her deliveries and teaching Addy how to read. And like, she just seemed like the most

Hawa:

She was working overtime.

Heather:

Yeah.

Kelsey:

Did she ever get a best friend spinoff?

Heather:

No, I looked that up because I was like, I have to find out what happened to Sarah. Does she get back to school at the, because at the end it's left up in the air as to whether she'll ever be able to return to school and they didn't write a spinoff series...

Kelsey:

Ridiculous

:

...for her. I thought for sure they would, since they gave Nellie one sadly. No. So I don't know what became of Sarah maybe in the later Addy books. I don't know.

Kelsey:

Yeah, because I was thinking she kind of reminds me of Nellie.

Candice:

I think what I love about Addy and Sarah's friendship and you kind of start to see it in the second book is that they compliment each other. Well, Addy is learning along the way. They have a pretty healthy childhood friendship, but I thought that was really good to see. I love their friendship so much.

Heather:

Yeah. They're really like sisters. I mean, they just are kind of unequivocally there for each other and support each other and have a lot of empathy for what the other one is, is struggling with, even in the midst of having their own struggles. Yeah. And she seemed like a really well-developed character, much like Nellie, where you did have a sense of like who this child is, you know, and also like Nellie she's, like you're saying kind of the voice of reason for Addy sometimes to like dial her back when she wants to like really take a stand on time and be like, Addy, this is just the way things are. And like, that would be dangerous to do this right now. Um, like with the street cars later on. And I think we wanted to talk about the hair. Um, hair gets mentioned a lot in this particular book, you know, Addy gets her hair done by her mom to go to school, Harriet's hair as mentioned repeatedly. Some of Harriet's friends are mentioned , um, in the context of their hair, texture or color, the Addy doll had a different hair texture than the American Girl dolls that proceeded her. And I think that was a really important thing for a lot of people who had Addy when they were kids. So I thought maybe we should talk a little bit about that choice,

Hawa:

Even just looking at the illustrations and seeing like that little girl with like the 4c hair. Like you can definitely tell there's a difference between her hair and like Harriet's hair. And I think it's kind of cool because even though like it's not really necessarily even though it's something that they kind of make her try to make her feel like bad about or make it seem like she's lesser than because of it. I mean, Addy is ultimately the hero in all of these books, so it's kind of cool to be like, oh, Hey, that hero looks like me has my hair texture. Especially like when you're younger and like, you know, your hair is natural. And it's like, I mean, honestly it wouldn't really be accurate if her hair was the same as the other American girl dolls. So it was cool that they, they thought to put that in

Candice:

And I'll be very honest with you. All I have , um, what some people have referred to is like nice hair. And we all know all Black hair is nice hair. All of it is great. And all of it is good, but growing up, even though my hair was , um, I found it easier to manage in the sense where I didn't really have to fight my hair to like slick it back. I hated having curly hair and I never had the Addy doll, but I remember not really wanting anything to do with the Addy hair. And I think that may have been one of the main reasons. I didn't want the doll, but I'm very happy. And of course, as I've gotten up, became an adult, I love my hair. Now. I'm glad that there were girls who had that representation and valued it at the time for what it was, because honestly I could have blown their sales, you know, they could have been like, well, you know, we're going to give her a straighter hair or a looser curl pattern because we don't want people to not buy the doll. But I, I truly believe that young girls and people reading about the African-American experience, especially from a time period standpoint, they need that representation. They need to see, they need to feel the hairs like, oh, this is a girl like me, that will change the way a child sees themself. And that's really impactful. So I'm really happy that they chose to give her accurate hair.

Kelsey:

Yeah.

Hawa:

I can imagine my doll is like, my doll looks just like me. My doll's hair feels just like me. Like how frequently do you get that experiences?

Heather:

Yeah, there is a really great article in Salon by an author named Ashley Clark. And it's sort of a retrospective on her experience as a child with Addy, particularly with Addy's hair and her own hair. You know, she talks about sort of the experience that many of us have with American Girl, which was like, this was an aspirational doll. Like it was well beyond what our families could afford. And so it was something that like you saved up for four years, like it was your everything. It was your Christmas, it was your birthday, it was your allowance. It was anything you had went towards someday. I'm going to get this doll. It was like that for her as well. And she said, when her Addy doll came, her mom saw the doll and said, Addy could use a relaxer. She goes on to say, I just liked this quote a lot. She said to love Addy 's hair. I'd also have to love my own natural texture, but I didn't know how. And so it kind of tracks her experience with the doll and where she put the doll away for a time because she was sick of dealing with her hair and how it kind of echoed her own relationship with her hair. And I think that's really impactful, you know, to have sort of an avatar for yourself in that way, where you can struggle through like a pretty complicated, emotional process of getting to know yourself and your identity and loving yourself and your identity and having a doll and some books about a doll, be a part of that, I think is like, that's a pretty big deal. Like I think that definitely while we've kind of said, okay, these books are not typically great literature. Like we're not putting them as like classics that like, you'd say, oh, you have to read this. It's so powerful with Addy. At least they were really powerful for people. And so on that level, I think this is probably the most successful American Girl series that we've looked at for sure. In terms of the character,

Hawa:

Love that.

Candice:

Wasn't she also the first American Girl doll to have earrings? Yeah. I thought that choice was interesting and I didn't anything on it as to why they made that decision, but I know that, and I don't really remember them mentioning earrings in the books. I don't know if they, yeah. I don't think they held like a literary significance as far as her series, but I wondered if it was because they felt like the doll didn't look cute enough on its own without earrings, or was it because they thought that, you know, well, little Black girls should wear earrings.

Hawa:

It's really interesting that she was like the first to wear earrings. I don't know. Like for me, I just think it just made me think like I've had earrings for as long as I can remember. Like I literally got my ears pierced as a baby, but granted that may not have necessarily been the case back in 1860, whatever year she must've 1850 something, whatever year that she was probably born. Oh no, I wish I wish there had been more out there about that because I definitely would have been interested to hear like, if this was like a deliberate choice, like.

Kelsey:

Yeah. Well, cause like, so Molly was the first all that had , um, glasses, glasses, accessory, but like that's part of her character and that's really built into the stories and um, yeah, they don't talk about the earrings at all in the book. And it makes you wonder if it's even historically accurate or

Heather:

Do they show them in the illustrations?

Candice:

I was just looking to see that

Heather:

Or was it just on the doll?

Kelsey:

Does have earrings in , I'm holding Happy Birthday, Addy. She has hoops

Candice:

In Changes for Addy she does too

Kelsey:

So maybe that was a choice. I know that the Addy illustrations were based off the illustrator's child. So maybe that was connecting to her childhood.

Candice:

That's possible. It's actually funny how that you mentioned that you've had earrings as long as you can remember. Cause I have to. Think my parents pierce my ears when I was like one years old. I don't know.

Hawa:

Yeah

Candice:

Don't know, but even now I don't think I see, I don't see many people as far as the African - American diaspora without their ears pierced. So I wonder if I could have been maybe a cultural choice as well.

Hawa:

That's what I was thinking because like I know even like when I leave the house and I don't have on earrings, my mom will be like, why don't you have earrings even as an adult? Why don't you have on earrings? Definitely think it might've been like a partially a cultural decision. Just, I just don't know how relevant that was back then.

Candice:

I kind of, I do wish they had kind of, I guess, gone into the reasoning for that or like why they gave her earrings. I'm very curious to know.

Kelsey:

It also makes me wonder if it was just like the manufacturing evolved at that point where they could do earrings [Laughter]

Hawa:

[ inaudible ] do earrings now

Kelsey:

...was just on Addy.

Heather:

Well, and because I think even if you had one of the other historical dolls without earrings, I think that was like the doll hospital. Like you could go get your dolls, ears pierced

Kelsey:

Oh my God.

Heather:

...post purchase. Once they started doing the , um, doll, hospital, doll, hair salon, all of that. Maybe if they were just like, okay, this is going to be another moneymaker. Let's move on to Addy's Surprise. Addie and her mom and get ready for their first Christmas in Philadelphia with lots of extra work at Mrs. Ford's shop. Extra work means extra deliveries and tips for Addy and she saves up to buy a lamp and a red scarf for Mama. After a powerful sermon at their church, Addy and Mama donate their savings to the Freedmen's Fund and celebrate with their church family. Addie receives a dress from Mrs. Ford while Mama receives a lamp and they both get the best Christmas surprise when Papa arrives in Philadelphia.

Hawa:

So I just want to start off by saying that the, the lady that came in and made a big deal about like the dress that Mama made or worked on not being like her daughter's size, it not fitting, blah, blah, blah. She was so mean.

Heather:

That lady was awful.

Hawa:

The illustration, I was like, yeah, she's Black and that's not so assuming I thought all the bad people in the books are going to be like, white. But I'm like, no, you, this is your own, you know, like you couldn't [Multiple Voices]. No. And then Mrs. Ford really stood up and was like, you know, she basically said, maybe your daughter just got fat, which is kind of rude. But you know, she basically stood up for, um, Mama was just like, she's my best. Like she knows what she's doing. Like, I'm sorry, I can offer you a refund, but I'm not offering you a refund because she didn't do it. Right. I'm offering you a refund because it's not working for you basically.

Kelsey:

The fight was really abrupt, she just like stormed in, was like, this dress sucks. And then Mrs. Ford was like, it doesn't but here's your money . And then she just left. And I was like, I feel like that would have been more protracted in real life, but also like, what did they do to address? I could see like a couple of buttons popping off or like maybe it has one rip, but it's like her daughter, like hulked out of it. And tore it to shreds.

Heather:

They described it as being like in pieces and tatters. But like all of the seams were ripped out, the buttons have popped off, like, yeah, I was picturing like Violet from Willy Wonka, like when she goes into the blueberry, because it's like, wow. I mean, how much weight could this girl have gained?

Candice:

In a month

Heather:

But doing the like measurements and wearing

Kelsey:

And if it really happened, don't you think she would just like, get it halfway up and be like, nah, nevermind.

Hawa:

Why wasn't she just like, okay, let's see what we can do. But then again, I guess it was like, literally like the day before Christmas, I guess there really only was, but

Heather:

They could have put in a panel or something. No, she's just like, oh no,

Kelsey:

It was a lot.

Hawa:

But I did think it was interesting. I feel like this is the book where we start to see Mrs. Ford's dynamic change up a little bit. Um, cause you know, they were staying upstairs in that like really the room that was cold during the winters and hot during the summers and the window I think was wasn't shutting at that time.

Heather:

But they also hadn't told Mrs. Ford. And I thought that was interesting that the author pointed it out because like Mama didn't want to make waves, so she didn't want to do anything that could be like seen as complaining. But then once things like kind of the dynamic was established in this book with Mrs. Ford, it was kind o f like, oh man, she probably would have just fixed it,

Kelsey:

But they don't know who they can trust.

Hawa:

Yeah.

Candice:

Yeah

Hawa:

So it's, it's like sad to see that on both sides, but it's just like, she probably would have helped, but it's just like, well I can't help, but I don't know about, and then she even goes as far as lettin Addy stay downstairs with them instead of having to go upstairs and she's just like, well, you know, could use you around?

Heather:

And Addy ended up getting that great dress. And that dress was great. Like as far as American Girl doll, fancy dresses go

Candice:

That dress was top notch

Heather:

that is a top tier, fancy dress.

Hawa:

And then mom gets the matching scarf So she gets the scarf after all, even though she had saved up her money and then she donated it to the Freedman'sm, what was the Freedman's Trust?

Heather:

Um hmm.

Hawa:

That was so wholesome

Candice:

I also wanted to , um, I guess circle back to Mrs. Ford and Addy's dynamic and I'm going to be honest, you guys, I felt a little ways when Mrs. Ford only let her come downstairs when Addy was doing stuff for her. And I was like, I know that, I guess, you know, it's very clear that Mrs. Ford is a workaholic. Like she's about her business. Don't play with her money at the same time. Like I wonder why she only started to warm up to Addy once Addy started doing basically like side, side hustles for her, her seamstress business.

Hawa:

Maybe the way to her heart was through, through working. So it was just like, oh, well, okay, now I can kind of want to see you when I let you into other parts.

Candice:

Yeah. But she should've known like the slaves were hustling on plantation. Why would they not work? And you know what.

Heather:

Well, she'd been doing the deliveries

Candice:

Right. And it made me think of something that her dad says and another book, he was like, you know, I was a carpenter as a slave. Why would I suddenly not be a carpenter as a freed man? I was like, what, what would be the difference between Addy being capable of doing tasks before and after? Like she has hand she has a brain, but me, you know, maybe that's what Mrs. Ford needed, you know, to warm up and feel a little fuzzy, make her a little dress.

Hawa:

The Christmas spirit.

Candice:

Yeah. Yeah.

Kelsey:

Give them a lamp [Laughter]

Hawa:

Right! That was!, [laughing]

Heather:

It was like a Scrooge conversion again, it was like conversion of Jiggy Nye as well. It seems to be like a American Girl, like, oh, the grumpy person turns kind.

Hawa:

Yeah, because she looks grumpy even in her, like vignette in the beginning. Like she definitely looks grumpy

Heather:

It's like, you're saying you don't want a child to be seen in the shop, but your child is not allowed to be seen in the shop as your delivery person. Like she's literally the face of

Candice:

Yeah. The way they teach emotions, I think is very good. Um, and Addy, like they're examples of like emotional registry and like how to express or like how people are feeling. I'm glad that Mrs. Ford wasn't outwardly hateful or racist to say, because you know, the concept of not hating was very prominent throughout the books. Like, you know, her dad's like, you know, Addy, I don't like it. When you say you hate white people. Um, I think because on all playing fields, people were viewed as human, even from, from Addy's perspective. Like even though she says she hated white people, she was learning not to. Um, and there weren't any white people aside from like in the first book , um, that like openly hated Addy. So it was like, we are all on the same level. We're all on the same playing field. We're all people we all deserve to be loved. And I really liked that about, about the books. At least you may have not read it in, walk away with that. But I, from it, I felt like I got that.

Heather:

This is the book where the doll shows up. This is always the book where they try to sell you a doll for your doll. So do we want to talk a little bit about Ida Bean, Addy's doll?

Kelsey:

Yeah. So we did digging on Ida Bean before we started recording. And as far as we can tell the Ida Bean doll is a little out of scale. [Laughter] The other dolls' dolls that we've been sold so far, I don't, we don't really quite know what happened there or if that's true, but it seemed a little o.

Heather:

She's like barely smaller than Addy.

Candice:

Yeah.

Heather:

Which is huge if you scale those up to like people's size.

Hawa:

And I can't imagine that realistically back then, they really just had that much like scrap material lying around

Heather:

And beans. That would have been like pound -- it would have been so heavy And it would be so heavy if you had a, like three, four foot tall doll made of beans. Yeah. I'm not sure what happened in production for the Ida Bean accessory doll.

Candice:

I don't either. And I'm going to be honest. Ida Bean was a little scary. I don't know why they made her so large.

Hawa:

Ok, same. But I think that, I guess that was part of making it historically accurate.

Candice:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Hawa:

And I mean, I guess also we can say that because we know what dolls look like today, but like [laughter] that was, that was...

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Multiple Speakers:

[Inaudible]

Hawa:

But I'm just like with the way dolls were looking back then I think all the dolls are a little scary look,

Candice:

Especially the porcelain ones.

Hawa:

Yeah.

Candice:

Give me the heebie-jeebies

Hawa:

I like that on the copy of Addy's Surprise, a Christmas Story that I have, she is holding the doll on the cover

Heather:

The doll is a normal size.

Hawa:

It's a normal size. Exactly. But it's also not illustrated by the original illustrator , um, Melodye Rosales?

Heather:

Mm hmm.

Hawa:

She was the original illustrator. She, she did the first three books. Right?

Heather:

And then they switched to a man and we did look up, well, Hawa, maybe you can describe this better. I think earlier you said that Melodye Rosales seemed to still be salty about the like American Girl experience, because it does seem like that the relationship between her and Pleasant Company got very fraught and ended up being a pretty negative experience for her.

Hawa:

She wanted to more accurately depict experiences of colorism in the books with the illustrations and the company was basically like, we didn't really need any more like separation between like Black people. It's already talking about like a very serious topic, which is like , um , slavery, which is interesting cause I can definitely see like both sides, but I think like acting like colorism just didn't exist was really like interesting. And she , um, she modeled the Addy , um , illustrations off of her daughter. And um, even as of like back in July, she posted a picture on Instagram showing like a picture of side to side of like her original Meet Addy illustration, and a picture of her daughter dressed up. I don't know thing is, I don't know if her daughter was dressed up as Addy or if it's literally the same picture that she based the picture , uh, Add- the illustration of Addy off of, but it was very interesting. Like everyone's in the comments like, yeah, your illustrations are my favorites and dah dah, dah, dah, dah. And she just like responding to everyone. So like she definitely is feeling the love, but I think also it's kind of just like, I think it would have been cool if she was like the main illustrator throughout everything. Cause it was her. And then I think for the remainder of the three books, it was a black guy named Bradford Brown and all the books get re illustrated, I guess, to maybe for consistency by a white guy named Dahl Taylor. Oh yeah. And I thought that was interesting because especially considering that they, you know, they put together this committee in the beginning, so, you know, make sure that the book was written by a Black author and you know, we had all these things that were historically accurate. Now that's not to say that a white man can't do good illustrations of, uh the storyline, but I definitely think of the, all the illustrations because my collection of the book that I bought is a mix of all three. I definitely think Melody Rosales' one of my favorite ones and hers were the most consistent, I don't know if you guys noticed, but like, depending on which copy of the book you have, even within the one story by the same illustrator, Addy looks different.

Kelsey:

It's really hard to figure out who Addy is.

Heather:

Like in the later books, there were times where I could not tell which character was supposed to be who and the illustrations , um , Papa and Sam are indistinguishable. And one of the illustrations later in the books as well. Yeah. I think it's unfortunate because I also really liked the Rosales illustrations. I think they're beautiful. And she was working with what was in the text. Like the colorism is literally written into the tax. Like it is explicit in the Harriet introduction. So it seems very weird that they would then start to falter for it. The other thing I noticed was that once it shifted from the Rosales illustrations to the male illustrator, who did the latter ones, the whole color palette changed, the whole color palette lifted. So the Rosales illustrations are pretty dark, but that's also in keeping with, what's both the tone of the early books. But even once they're to freedom, they're in rooms that are very poorly lit. You know, it seemed very accurate to the text, but then everything got brightened up and the tone felt a lot more like cheerful, whether the subject dictated that or not.

Kelsey:

I think that's the other piece of feedback that she got was another tension that, that her illustrations were too sad. I think that's a direct quote.

Hawa:

Yes, you're right It's too sad, which is like, again, she's depicting what's in the books authentically. The stories are sad

Candice:

If you hold the com - pictures, comparison side by side, Melodye's illustrations, the characters are much more expressive. And I think it's very clear what the characters are feeling in the pictures. Whereas with dolls, everything's a lot more subtle even in the pictures that are side-by-side from the scene where the customer comes into the store and she's mad about the dress. They're a customer and her daughter are darker. The customer seems less upset. And in the original one with melodies, the daughter was thicker, you know, cause they just talked about her growing out of her dress, but Mama's face is also more expressive. Like, Addy, you, better stay down there, you don't do come from behind here and don't cry now. And I just think it's interesting because so much can be said with the change in illustration, side-by-side kind of like the complexities of the situation and the scene being painted, you know, like you said, people think that kids can't handle that, but they can. And I think being able to visually depict that just helps them to better grasp it. I really wish they had stuck with all the Melodye's illustrations.

Heather:

I do too. I think they were really beautifully done. Um, yeah. I think maybe we can put some of the images onto the blog so that you can see the side by sides because it is pretty striking when you look at the changes, it's very obvious.

Candice:

And even in, you know, we were talking about her hair, the two different illustrations of her hair, like you can tell Mama was like, I'm trying to get into that hair in Melodye's. And then the second one, like, it looks like her hair is already done.

Hawa:

There was a scene where in one of the later books and I couldn't like from the illustration, I couldn't tell if I was looking at Harriet or if I was looking at Addy. Um, so I think that's important to be said. And also something I just wanted to point out Papa comes back at the end of this book, which is so exciting. Also like the way they did it was kind of like, doesn't he like walking while they're like doing like a

Heather:

Yeah. They're like doing the like Christmas shadow play.

Hawa:

Yeah.

Heather:

And then she, like sees a shadow coming into the room and she's like.

Hawa:

I know that shadow.

Kelsey:

I know that shadow.

Heather:

I know that shadow. It's Papa!

Hawa:

I was like, what!

Kelsey:

I know she loves him. I know she would probably recognize him if she saw his face. There's no way you're like, ah, yes. A vague, fuzzy shadow. Definitely my dad, no way. And she does that again later with , um, Esther and her Aunt Lula.

Heather:

Auntie Lula

Hawa:

Yeah. And I'm just like, but it also makes me wonder, like, I don't know what maybe the kind of lamps that they were using back then, is it possible that they were seeing more shadows, darker rooms? [Laughter' That could be a reach to be honest, but I don't know, I'm trying to...

Candice:

I'm trying to, I'm sitting here trying to think. Do I know what my parents look like? [Laughter] [Inaudible]...shadow.

Kelsey:

Do I know what my parents look like? Period.

Candice:

I will say this. I do think if I saw the back of my mom's head, I would know it's her.

Heather:

It was a strange reveal. I guess they wanted like suspense, but it's like one sentence of suspense. So.

Kelsey:

Very happy for her though.

Heather:

Yes. Thrilled for them. Excellent Christmas. All round.

Kelsey:

I just have one miscellaneous note here. I love to bring in the back matter when I can, in this back matter, they talked about Christmas traditions and they said that children who could not get a gun for Christmas, but still wanted to like replicate the act of having a gun or having got a gun for Christmas would , um,

Heather:

These are the bladder guns, right?

:

Yes!, [Laughing] they would take hog bladders and drop them in fire. So they would explode.

Heather:

That's really awesome. But we've talked about this before with the like shooting in the new year and we always like, we had fireworks for baby Jesus. Like people love exploding things for Christmas. [Laughter]

Candice:

I feel like I have a vague memory of reading about the, hog bladders ?

Kelsey:

Hog bladders.

Candice:

I feel like when we were kids, we used to joke about filling up water balloons with pee and, and throwing them for Christmas. [Laughter] I feel like there's like a deep, deep seated thing in there.

Heather:

Weird Christmas traditions seem to be a through line and many of the books that I've read with Christmas trees thrown at people, people eating Christmas trees, exploding, hog bladders, like, [Laughing]

Kelsey:

I love that for us.

Hawa:

Gosh.

Heather:

Alright. Next book is Happy Birthday, Addy. Addy, Mama and Papa have moved into the Goldens' boarding house and Papa has found work delivering ice. Addy befriends M'Dear, the elderly mother of Mr. Golden and is encouraged to pick a special day for her birthday since she doesn't know which date she was born on. Papa finally finds work as a carpenter. The war ends and Addy celebrates with everyone at the boarding house by picking that day for her birthday.

Candice:

Think this was my second favorite book. Same.

Heather:

I liked this one a lot too.

Candice:

I liked being able to see, I guess like, because her father is now with them, like you get this extra character with this extra dynamic. I know it's like a small point in history. In fact that like a lot of slaves didn't know their birthday, but I liked that Addy picked her birthday because you know, you think a lot about what other slaves would have been going through and just how significant that was for them, you know, to not have the documentation, but to be still not only be freed, but celebrate their birthday as a freed person.

Hawa:

I also loved that this book started out talking about like Double Dutch. Cause it reminded me of like, I was like, dang it was Double Dutch back then. And back then, no,

Kelsey:

Yeah, I didn't know it was such an old tradition.

Hawa:

Yeah, it were just reminded me of like when I was in like elementary school. And like we'd like pulled out like random old, like cable wires and like, but I never could take part when they were Double Dutching in. Cause I couldn't, I couldn't jump. And I was like, where was M'Dear? When I needed her? She was giving Eddie all the tips about like listening to the tick tick tich And I also couldn't turn because I was double - handed. So I really was just like, okay, so can we switch back to single rope now? So I thought that was like a really cute, fun, relatable thing for them to throw in there and like be consistent with.

Candice:

Again, I think this book also just heavily just nodded to like kind of like Black culture and tradition, like her being like, oh, call me M'Dear because that's what all my family calls me and it's like, Aw, but Double Dutch thing. Yeah. And I can never get the grasp of Double Dutch thing, but I loved watching people, Double Dutch. And I think wasn't this also the book where they , um, dealt with the, the tram or trolley?

Kelsey:

Yeah, the streetcar.

Candice:

Yeah, the streetcar.

:

Yeah, cause they went to go get M'Dear's medication.

Candice:

I of course made me think of Rosa Parks. Um, which by the way, I don't believe was the first woman to refuse to sit at the back of the bus, correct?

Hawa:

Yeah. It was Claudette Colvin.

Candice:

Yeah. Yeah. Um, it made me think of, again, like just the social ceilings that they would hit. I'm trying to do something as simple as just run to get medicine. Um, and then them being made to get off this streetcar and just like you think about how, not only are you not allowed to really be on the street. car, but you also might be forced to get off.

Hawa:

And then they took the fare and just didn't give them the money back.

Candice:

Yeah.

Kelsey:

Yeah, and it wasn't even full like sh- the point was that they could all go sit inside and be fine, but because of their.

Heather:

They weren't allowed.

Kelsey:

[Inaudible] they weren't allowed thinking about this idea that like the stakes were out here so much higher than everyone else. Everyone else that we've read so far, this is the first time I've really seen her be a little reckless so far in the book. And it's for a very specific and important reason. Most of the other girls in the books by this point have, you know, run out in the middle of the night, done something very dangerous and mostly they're for kind of selfish reasons. And this is Addy's first time really kind of bending the rules and kind of going against what her parents would want. And it's still very safe. Like it's during the day she like, she gets home by six, you know, she's with Sarah.

Hawa:

So, you know, when they're in the house and they're like, oh, I think the war is over. How did they know that?

Heather:

Well, it was just cause everyone was celebrating. Right?

Hawa:

Yeah, but like, it's

Kelsey:

Who was the first person who got the news?.

Hawa:

Right, cause it seemed like they just looked out the window, they heard the noises and they look out the window and this doesn't sound like something that they would be able to tell just from looking out the window before actually stepping outside, it was just like, oh, I think the war is over. And then they step outside. But I guess if people were cheering and I guess they figured, what reason would there be to cheer? If not for this.

Kelsey:

Yeah.

Candice:

At least for seeing other black people cheer, like, you know, like, y'all not going to be happy about anything else except for being free

Hawa:

And I should've seen it coming. Right. Because at this point, you know, we're trying to figure out what day she's going to pick for her birthday. I thought she was going to pick her dad's first day at work. That's what I thought. Cause I was just like, oh, okay. And then when they said that, oh, the end of the war, I was like, duh, well, yeah.

Kelsey:

The other thing that I , I I've noticed throughout the books, but I think really was prevalent in this one and a little bit in , in Addy's Surprise too, is just the importance of music and all the different kind of roles it plays in their, their lives. You know, M'Dear talks about the bird, singing its song as a way to kind of get beyond the walls of its cage and express itself and, and create some freedom for itself or fathers whistling to mark some hope for himself because he finally got a job and she talks about music, being a sign of hope in the last book they have, they sing this little light of mine and, and joy to the world and that helps create some community. And so I think just all the different roles that music plays in their lives is , um, again, much more prevalent than it's really been in other books.

Hawa:

I also checked out one of these , uh , welcome to Addy's world books, which is basically kind of like a combination. I wouldn't say it's kind of like a big version of the back matter that we get in all these books when it kind of goes a bit further in depth. And there's a section called Music and Freedom and it talks about like, it says like music kept the rhythm of hope and freedom alive. It was necessary to enslave people as breathing air. And that work songs helped to ease the drudgery of the revive spirits of tired souls. And it says, these were, these spirituals were like shields that gave protection from the master's harsh words and this thing of his whip. And it also even goes even further into depth and saying that , um, slaves also, they sang spirituals to send each other as secret messages that the slave owner wouldn't understand. So I thought that that was really interesting because I figured there was some kind of connection to music in slavery, but I wasn't exactly sure like the specific, so I liked that they included that in here.

Heather:

I think the back matter also had like pictures of some of the instruments, like a gourd fiddle. And again, I think the back matter in these books is better done than in the other American Girl series that we've read. Well, let's move on to Addy Saves the Day. All of the churches are working together to host a fair to raise money. Addy and Sarah are forced to collaborate with Harriet who is her usual snobby self until a family tragedy helps bring the girls together. Addy catches a mysterious thief and is shocked to find Sam at the fair.

Hawa:

I could kind of tell that , um , Harriet's uncle was going to be dead the way they, it just, just

Heather:

She talked about him a lot

Speaker 1:

She talked about him so much. And she just seemed so sure. And I was like, there's something that's going to happen when it did happen I like that this whole book, especially was kind of like really the, like the climax of the feud between the two of them, because, you know, they want to put on this fair for the church. And Harry has the idea of the magic show, but then everybody likes Addie's idea about the spool puppet show. But then she even get into that huge argument and her parents were like, we don't want you, you know, we know that you guys don't like each other, but you know, you need to be nice. And, you know, I know you're excited about your idea winning, but you don't have to be boastful. Basically. Her parents always seem to be like the voice of reason and I'm just like, nah, Eddie , I feel you like she was struggling . But I liked that. It said that that's what had to bring them together. But I like that, you know, she was more so there for Harriet. I was kind of interested to see if it was going to like force them to become friends in the next book, but I'm kinda glad they didn't because I thought that would have been overly unrealistic, but okay.

Speaker 4:

For sure. I didn't really like the dynamic between them and this book though, because I felt like, like you just said Hallo , where I was like, but Addie hasn't really done anything to Harriet. And Harriet literally took her on as her quote unquote slave and like re up some trauma for her in the first book that has not been apologized for a resolved. And then she's continued to escalate the fight and gotten upset because she didn't get her way. Like Addie, it's not like Addie was like, no hair . Your idea is stupid. Do my idea. She just said like, here's another idea. And here it was like, ah , screw you. I don't like that. And this happens in a lot of American girl books. It's like, we both messed up and like, let's just like raw be friends. And like, I'm sorry that you hate me. And you're sorry that you hate me. And so now we can move past it. Like I don't, I just don't love that message because it allows , it makes kids feel like, oh, if someone's being mean to me, I should look for a reason why this is my fault. I'm glad that that Addie showed some empathy because clearly Harriet is going through a tough time and maybe there's more going on in her background. But that doesn't mean she needs to necessarily be like, we've both done the same amount of wrong in this situation. And now we both can forgive and forget because

Speaker 1:

Well, that empathy have happened. The other way around had been Addie that found out that her brother died. No, she probably would've made fun of her for it.

Speaker 2:

It was a terrible person to basically everyone. And then Addie thought her ideal was better and those are equivalent. And that's not equivalent at all in terms of like scale of harm that , yeah, I don't love that either about the American girl books, the arguments resolve way too quickly. And they, they always seem to resolve in favor of the aggressor. It excuses

Speaker 3:

Everything. I hate that. I hate that trope so much. It's like I can be the bigger person, you know, especially teaching kids to be the bigger person. I'm also not allowing certain behavior. I think Harriet losing her uncle was also a good example of grief though. Aside from everything else that I experienced, like leaving her sister and her brothers behind and her dad and her family getting separated. I think again, it's another good example of them showing children complex emotions.

Speaker 1:

The thief at the fair was really random.

Speaker 2:

A lot of questions about,

Speaker 1:

I forgot that this book was, she saves the day. So I'm guessing that was her way of like ,

Speaker 2:

And saving the day was that she like saved some money from the carpet bag beef. There was no explanation for the

Speaker 1:

Beef. And she looked kind of mean , and them illustration

Speaker 2:

Did. And she got away after like she like knock Harriet down. She like made Addie fall down and then she left her bag and fled, but there was never any explanation, like why was this girl stealing all of this money? What was her deal?

Speaker 1:

She might've been in need. I w yeah, I think my problem is I want them to explain every little aspect, you know, to give like, you know, but I guess there has to be a bad guy in every book. And she was the bad guy.

Speaker 2:

I thought there was going to be something. Cause they put such an emphasis on the carpet bag. I thought it might be tied to like carpet baggers during civil war time. In some ways I was waiting for there to be an explanation. But no, I guess that was just the comeback she had. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

And I thought, I thought she was going to have some sort of Baxter. It was like her family was trying to go find a loved one. And when they found that out, they would be like, well, we need, you can't have all this money, but like here's 50 cents or something. You can like get a train ticket. I don't know,

Speaker 2:

But not , she was just, she disappeared. And then I also was like, just the economy and Addie too . I was like confused by at times. So Addy was given 3 cents suspended the fair, but we never saw anything at the fair that she could afford to buy. Who

Speaker 1:

Was buying things at this fair.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. Cause like this full puppets were like five or 10 cents.

Speaker 1:

There's the spool puppets were like this, the whistles were 5 cents. This fool puppets were 10 cents each. But if you buy three, you can get them for a quarter. That was the deal.

Speaker 2:

So late , she had three sons. She couldn't spend on anything. And then there was another time where they mentioned the price of eggs and I was shocked. It was like 48 cents a dozen, I think. And I put it into the like governments , inflation calculator over time. And it would work out to like nine bucks for like a dozen eggs, which was shocking to me.

Speaker 4:

Speaking of the price of things, you can buy IDs , spool puppet as an accessory, which I'm , I don't know why I was surprised because like any chance to monetize, I was kind of surprised that like when I Googled spool puppet, like not even, I didn't even look up Abby scoop full puppet. I just said spool puppet. And that was the first result. And if you want one , you can buy it on eBay for $90. So the cost has gone up. Wow.

Speaker 1:

I think that them using the whole spool puppet puppet show thing as a way of like her brother coming back, like she's telling the audience, her brother's tired jokes and he's the one that knows the answer and it's just like, it was cute. It was very unrealistic. And then on top of that, like, you don't even really see like units , you see that she's excited about it, but you don't really see her parents' reaction. And then it doesn't go into that. And other book either,

Speaker 3:

Does anyone know like how Sam found

Speaker 1:

Them? So he just happened to know that they were in Philadelphia.

Speaker 2:

Well, that had always been the plan was to run the Philadelphia. Right. But then he and his dad got sold. So I guess he knew they were going there and he thought like, well, my best bet is to go to Philadelphia and try to find him . And I'm assuming he asked at a church and they were like, while we're having this big church fairs of all of the like black churches in town, you should go see if they're there.

Speaker 4:

It's a lot of data , six Mokena for all of the finding, like all the times they're reunited it , it all seems a little improbable and is like heightened for dramatic.

Speaker 2:

The fact that they have like 60 pages to tell the whole story. So I feel like it's a little bit excusable. I was kinda like, oh, Sam's, arm's gone. Hey Sam, your arm's gone. Yep . Lost it in the war. And that's just kind of hit , but they never like show him having any like actual impairments from no longer having an arm.

Speaker 3:

I think reading the books is on adult . Cause you know, when you're little, I was just like, okay, like, that's just how it happened. But I think because we know the Addy's family has been slash is going through so much as an adult. We're like, give me more. I want to know more. I , you guys said, it's like 60 pages. They're not going to give us, but so much

Speaker 2:

Changes for Addie . Addie continues her search for the rest of her missing family members and prepares for a performance at our church. Sarah is forced to leave school, to work and make money for her family. Addie finally locates onto Lula and Esther at a church. And the family is briefly impartially reunited before auntie Lula dies. This was sad.

Speaker 1:

It was, I kind of figured that they were probably gonna kill off somebody that was close to her.

Speaker 2:

Did anyone else worry for Sarah? For sure. I thought he like her boots and her feet being cold. And then she didn't show up at school the next day. And I was like, oh no, wait, I don't remember them killing the friend. They're going to kill Sarah. It's a color

Speaker 4:

Situation all over

Speaker 2:

Again. It did. I thought it would be like Marta or it would be like the like horrible realization of the like American girl. Like you shouldn't be outside when you're wet and it's every series and this was going to be the like, see we told you, oh yeah. So I was glad it wasn't Sarah. But then I was so sad about Lula and Solomon.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. But like, you know, they were older. So I mean, I can imagine that taking that truck would have that kind of like impact on their body. But I think, I think that it was great that, you know , at least one of them kind of made it back with the baby, but it just, it was like a bittersweet ending. And then like Lula dies like two days before Christmas. Like

Speaker 4:

I was kind of glad that they did that though. Cause it would have been weird if they had this like, and the whole family's reunited and everyone was happy and everything good happened. Forevermore the end, again, this idea that like kids should be shown dark things and can handle it. And, and didn't need to realize that like things are getting better for Addy , but there are still hardships that she's facing and going to face moving forward. I think if they had tied it up more neatly, it would have been not in keeping with the rest of the series.

Speaker 1:

It touches on. It's very consistent with the ideas of freedom that we've been discussing or hearing about in the other books as well. It's just like, there is a cost for freedom, like uncle Solomon. It was so sad that he died. But he Lula was basically saying like, even though we feel like he didn't get to enjoy freedom, he died a freedom man. And that's what a freed man and that's what he wanted. So I thought that was really interesting. And I think that played into Addy reading the emancipation proclamation at church because you know , at first she kind of was just like, well, yeah, we're talking about being free. But like my brother came back from the war within the, with one arm, my sister, we missed out on like the beginning parts of her childhood. We missed out on her first steps. We didn't hear her first, her talking her first words, she barely remembers us like, yeah. So it was a lot, but it was very realistic I think. Um, and I think that with Addie , you know, her being reluctant to wanting to read the emancipation proclamation, it kinda just shows like Addie was always kind of reluctant to different things throughout the series because she was just like, this is what freedom is. Like. Like I thought that, you know, like her dad can't get a job as a carpenter, even though he was working as a carpenter before them, the whole thing with like the pharmacy and the street car . And it's just, what is freedom? Right. I'm

Speaker 3:

Kind of happy that they pass because it's realistic,

Speaker 4:

You know? Well, it's the contrast between when the war ended for Addie and her parents, it was like, yay. Like so great. But for everyone who was still on the plantations or in the south, it's like, okay, you're free now. You're just kind of all the resources that you had are gone. No one cares and you just have to figure it out. And you're kind of like back to square one.

Speaker 3:

Um, the way that Connie Porter kind of ties the concept of like freedom comes at a price over the core books is some pretty well for the most part. But especially in this last book.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Like they even talk about how, you know, towards the end slaves were just leaving off master Stevens is plantation. And then it kinda got to the point where it was just like the older slaves that were left behind. And then when everybody, by the time that it was announced that they were free pretty much, it was just the older people left. So even master Stevens was like, I'm outta here. Cause there was nobody to plant. The tobacco was no, no resources off the land that they could even really work for us . So they kind of really had no choice, but to try to find them because especially cause they were just like, we can't live off of this. Let's see if we can at least get this baby girl to her family.

Speaker 3:

And then like , um , the master Steven's leaving, like that just goes to show you how they really viewed them as commerce, like an economic object, which is so crazy. It's like, well I can no longer profit from you or from this. So it's onto the next. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I wanted to talk a little bit about the ending where she reads the emancipation proclamation. I was thinking a lot about like what the emancipation proclamation might mean to folks at that time and why they would have chosen it to be read at church. You know, knowing what we know now about Lincoln's kind of mindset when, when delivering the proclamation that it was more of a political decision than one where he truly was like, anti-slavery , he's been well-documented to have said like I'll do whatever it is to bring the two sides back together and don't really care about slavery itself as an issue. I dunno . I thought that was an interesting choice having that context in mind and knowing that the emancipation proclamation didn't really do anything because the south didn't listen to it. And it didn't say that it was freeing the slaves in the union where there were still slaves who were not affected by it. I don't know. I'm curious if anyone had any reactions to, to that.

Speaker 1:

I mean, I don't know if there's historical context too , but it just felt so like , first of all, it seems like a lot for a child to be reading out. And I kind of wished that it had at least included like some lines of like her maybe practicing or something. So we could get an idea of what specific lines really kind of stood out or like resonated with the people at this church that they felt that they needed.

Speaker 3:

I wonder if, I guess freed slaves at that time had to realize also how meaningless it almost was. And that's not to say that it doesn't mean anything, but as far as like them having equality and rights and true freedom, like it's still cost. Yeah .

Speaker 4:

Because obviously it has historical importance and it was a major point turning point in the war. And as a political document, it's important. I guess I was just thinking about it too, from the context of a child reading it, not having any of this history or this context or this like nuance, it's just like, wow, this amazing document that, and they do do say in one of the books, the south ignored this document, even though it said this, the slaves in the south were free. So at least they acknowledge that, but I don't know for it to be so like revered and terrorist without any of the context was just a little like off to me,

Speaker 3:

It was just to them like a tangible representation of like what they wanted so badly. Right . And even having her read it, I guess just having a black child read anything at that time probably was very impactful for them because you know, a lot of adults still cannot read, well,

Speaker 4:

Cool full circle moment for Addie because she can't read it at the beginning of the books. And now she's reading this document that has like, she, she even says like words I've never encountered before. I don't know what they mean, but she knows how to read them. And she probably is one of the few people in the church who can do that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I wanted to also touch on the

Speaker 2:

Presentation of the historical details in these books, as opposed to some of the other series we've read, we've commented as we've gone on things that were either amended or glossed over. So a couple of things that came to mind was in this manta book, there was the section on voting rights, but no mention in the section about suffrage, about when the black vote was allowed. Right. And so we commented on that in the fullest city books, we had real problematic like glossing over of what plantation life was like. And very little came up about segregation there . Like it's mentioned that like, oh, in several books, I think Samantha and Felicity, we have people say like, well this is the black part of town. And like, I shouldn't be out at night with white people, but there's nothing to give context to that the Addy books, I felt like took a much more serious look at the historical moments that are mentioned in the book. Like it did not seem like they were trying to spare details when the details were uncomfortable. Right. But that made me a little bit uncomfortable as I read because it's like, okay, so you're saying this is okay to put into the books for the doll that's being marketed specifically to black children. So, okay. This is okay, black children can handle this and should know about this, but for the dolls that we were marketing towards white kids, where does going leave that out? Cause that's a little uncomfortable for them. That's how it came across to me. Um, I don't know if it read that way to any of you, but that was, that was unfortunate. And it seemed like it would be something they easily could go back and correct. They've issued multiple additions of all of these books. They're now pretty old. These were 93. The ones before we've read have been mid eighties would be very easy to correct the back matter. Most kids would not like notice even probably it's not changing the story at all. It's just giving more context, but they haven't done that. And so I , I don't know,

Speaker 4:

Whole book series was like night and day from the Felicity series in a way that was like almost startling. And you just think about that book where she's on her grandfather's plantation and barely even acknowledges that there are literally slaves working there compared to this portrayal. It's like it's alarming to read how different they are. I wonder if a lot of the difference is because this was written by committee and much of the committee was made up of historians versus like teachers who really wanted this to be accurate and encourage that to be there. But I think you make a great point that then they should have gone back and corrected the other ones, realizing how much was left out.

Speaker 1:

That's the way speaking. I'm not expecting them to make a book about a little white girl explained the whole story about like race, right. But it's like, why hint at it? If you're not going to at least touch on it in the back matter, especially because the back matter it was never like the back matter just touches on one thing that's going on that time period. It touches on a couple different things. So it would have been interesting to see. Um, and I might've made this up, but I felt like I remember us having a past conversation was wasn't Addy supposed to be initially one of the original three or something like that.

Speaker 2:

She was. And whether this is the true telling of what actually happened, or if it's one of those like apocryphal stories, the story goes that pleasant role and wanted to have Addie Samantha, Molly as the original three girls. But she was discouraged by the marketing consultant who had done the market research, who said black families don't shop by mail order catalog. You won't be able to sell this doll. So at that point she switched Addie to Kiersten to be part of the original three, to release them. Then Bri Adyen, after that first wave of the first three dolls. So Addie came in at the same time as Felicity. And so she was a second wave doll. Okay. Let's accept that. As fact that was something she wanted to do. And then clearly at least had the sense to say, Hey, we're going to form this advisory board. This isn't my story to tell, I need to bring in people that know this period so that we do this right. But if you're going to give that sort of attention to it and intentionality, why was that not given to the back matter in the original three books? Like if this was an issue for them, that they wanted to make sure that the history on this time period was told to children and that children understood the significance of it. And they understood the horror and trauma of it. There's so many places where they completely, I mean, I think whitewashing is the right word, Candice , like, I don't know how else you can describe the foolish back matter. Other than that. Yeah. And that was contemporaneous to , to add Felicity and Addie were released at the same time, which to me is the most jarring one because you can't , you can't even give it the benefit of like, okay, well Samantha came out in the early eighties and like, that was a different time and they weren't quite, they didn't have a handle on how they were going to do the back matter. And so, okay. They had the suffrage thing and they couldn't figure out how to work this in. You can't say that about Felicity, when there's a huge storyline about her grandfather, who's a plantation owner, there's a book that takes place on the plantation. And it's just kind of like, things were tough for slaves moving on, you know, there's nothing there

Speaker 4:

Not wanting to make things complex for kids, each book, they seem to pick an issue. That's the issue. So, you know, Samantha's voting rights, but it's voting rights for white women because if you add in the race and that's another thing that they'd have to explain and talk about, and that's too much for Felicity it's gender roles and independence .

Speaker 2:

Yes . Well, that's the thing is like for Felicity, I felt like they weren't really sure what to talk about and half of the books,

Speaker 4:

But I think, I think there's like a fear of like, we're going to pick one social issue, dive in on it. And then that's the only one that we feel comfortable like putting in kids' heads. I don't think that's right. But I'm wondering if that is the mindset is like, let's just talk about sexism. Let's just talk about voting. Let's not really dive in on all the nuances of this issue.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I guess I'm just stuck on the like Felicity presentation, right ? Things were hard for slaves. They didn't get many days off. You know, they had to work long hours in the field when even if they had used the same number of sentences, you could have said, conditions were brutal for slaves. They were wept. They were, you know, demeaned. They were forced to work literally to death. Like there's, the framing is so different in these books and grandfather would have to be a villain. Well, yes he would. You know, but it wasn't that not that probably should have been discussed

Speaker 1:

Each episode, our Intrepid researcher will enchants us with scintillating factoids related to our book. It's time to dive in and explore Ella as a Femara .

Speaker 5:

Hi there everyone. I'm Ella . And this is my ephemera, the part of the podcast where I tell you about some of the neat things I learned while doing research. When I was nine, I begged my mom to let me get my ears pierced. I swore up and down. They wouldn't hurt too much. I must have promised to clean them several times a day. If not once an hour. After what felt like a lifetime, my mom finally took me to a piercing pagoda and we got them done. And do you know what happened? I screamed, I sobbed. I almost couldn't bear to get the second year done, but at least after all that, I finally had pierced ears, which, you know, promptly got infected and had to be taken out. I didn't try to get my ears Pierce again until late high school, if not early college, when Audi was released in 1993 with permanent gold earrings in each ear, she became the first American girl doll to have pierced ears. But why Addie is from the 1860s. And if anything was coming up on the golden age of clip-on earrings, it doesn't make any sense for her to have pierced ears until you think about their release date of her doll around the early 1980s, commercial ear piercing was taking off in a big way. Europe using shops began gaining popularity and by the nineties, less people were hesitant to get their ears pierced. I would imagine the toy manufacturers wanted to get in on that at least a little bit today. The American girl doll hospital offers ear pacing services for any of their adults. Thanks for joining me on this deep dive I'm ELA and this is my summer .

Speaker 1:

Okay. And we're back after rereading these stories of what do you think really stuck out to you about Addie story or what like really like stuck with?

Speaker 3:

So I think what stuck with me the most about Addie , I would probably say is kind of how spunky she is. And I, I think it resonated with me as a kid about how kind of like spunky. She was like how willing she was to do different things or try different things or go different places or make new friends, or even kind of confront Harriet her enemy or save money, being stolen from people. And he was brave. And I think she was brave for a girl in her time period because she honestly had a reason to be so afraid of the world, but she was brave enough to kind of get out there and discover what it would be to be a free girl in a world where she previously was not. So I think one of the lasting impacts is that I really admire Addie's braveness and her spontaneity and her spunk that kind of makes her a good role model for children because, you know, no matter what your adversity is or your circumstance or where you came from, where you're going to Addie kind of shows you that it's possible, it may not be how you want it to be, or even your ideal ad economy. The best of all her situations, even her friendships, even her enemy ships, Addie could kind of find a positive in everything. And I think just being able to see a girl that looked like me in literature, it resonated with me a lot. And that's Addie was the first black character to make me want to read about black characters and see myself in other books. So she definitely had a lasting impact on me.

Speaker 1:

No , I just wanted to say that's how I felt about Cassie from roll-up Bendigo my cry. So I get so excited to hear you talk about Addie . Cause that's how I thought about Cassie

Speaker 4:

Great book. I was thinking about Kasey . Some of the plot lines are kind of similar, but yeah, I think brave is the word that comes to mind for me too. I think about that scene in the first book where Addie is mistaken for the soldier and she has to act that part and , and not show any fear or give away that she's not who she's pretending to be an manages that and , and gets through that. Like, I was very anxious reading that section and, you know, navigating the streetcar by herself. Like she's very driven by like a sense of community. I think giving away her money for the community, wanting to do the charity for the fare , wanting to get the medicine for Madeira. I th I think , um, that's a really driving force for her and I, I really admire that. And I think that a lot of kids could learn from, from her sense of community. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think she's a great role model. She's determined. She has real empathy for everyone around her. She's wonderful as a role model, the impact of Addie , you know, I did not have her when I was a child. Um, she wasn't the doll I had. I had Samantha and like thinking back on it, I loved her. There's a real nostalgia around her, but like, did I learn anything from Samantha? No. Did I learn anything about myself from Samantha? No. You know, she was just this like nostalgic piece of my childhood. And I think Addie really transcended that for a lot of girls. Like her story meant more, her existence meant more because we've focused a lot on the materialism of it and like how commercial it is and like, oh , look, here's where they're selling us the doll again. Here's where , where they're selling us this accessory with Addy . I think they did more. They did a better job here and they did something that wasn't just purely,

Speaker 1:

Oh, this is very successful marketing. Like they did something with meaning reading. The Addy books definitely gave me more insight. It made me see the appeal to American girl. And that's not to say the other ones didn't, but like this one specifically had me see the appeal to it. So I think that was , um, the new insight that reading this book, reading Addy series gave me , um, and the book was really well done between the committee and the author. And it was just great. Addie's great. I'm looking forward to , uh, finishing up my collecting of her books coming up. We'll get an experts take on an important aspect of this novel that is not often discussed, but first let's pay some bills.

Speaker 6:

Do you have a child or grandchild in your home? Under the age of five? I want them to grow into a great reader, build their own library and learn to love books. All children under five, who live in prince George's county are eligible to receive a free book in the mail every month. Register online@pgcmls.info forward slash free books.

Speaker 4:

Now let's talk to someone who actually knows something about one of the main topics featured in this book, an actual member of the committee who advised on Addy's books,

Speaker 7:

Janet Sims-

Speaker 4:

Tell me about your connection to American girl. Um , the Addy Walker series,

Speaker 7:

I was asked to be a consultant on the project several years ago, and that it was a wonderful project to be part of

Speaker 4:

You . Tell me a little bit about your experience of participating on the committee on that came up with Audi storyline and how you got involved with that.

Speaker 7:

Uh , memos included , uh , historians, especially , uh , historians of the civil war era , uh, African-American historians and African-American women play strip , which was my area. And we also had a lady on Netta was , uh , uh, whose specialty was on African-American slave children. Uh, we have museum specialist , we had a fam specialist and we had writers of historical fiction.

Speaker 4:

It sounds like it was a really diverse group. What kinds of discussions did you have as you were talking through? What kinds of things were important to think about when creating Audi story?

Speaker 7:

Okay. Now I was , um , recommended for this project by a lady by the name of Dorothy stir and who was a historian and children's author. And , uh , who used to do research at Moreland spend guidance . She knew Dorothy Porter very well. So me and her got to be pretty good friends was he would come in, but , uh , as we act this group together , uh, we made me want to work on the storyline. And , um, uh, we would , you know, we wanted to talk about life after a family escaped slavery. Uh, we talked about their life , uh , what their life would be like in Pennsylvania. We also talked about the historical materials because it's so many things that goes with each of the storylines. Uh, there was , you know, furniture and things of that nature that went with it. And , um, so it would be furniture like the school desks , clothing, the lunchbox that she carried, things like that. So , uh, the items had to be historically accurate for that particular time period. And that's why we needed to have , uh, African-American historians who , uh, well, for me with that particular time period that , uh, the civil war period and right afterwards, and also , um, the museum specialists who could make sure that the materials with school that's, whatever we had was at that particular time period. So we wouldn't have a lunch box that would somebody would be having in the 20th century , uh, as opposed to doing that civil war era . So that was why you had to make sure that everything was historically accurate.

Speaker 4:

And I'm curious if you know, or have any thoughts as to why it was decided to write this book with the committee, because Addie, as far as I know, is the first book that was written that way.

Speaker 7:

Well, I didn't know, cause I wasn't really, you know , I really wasn't, even for me with American girl doll project, until somebody, you know, they , they tell me about it, but , um , I'm thinking it was really good to have this , uh , because we needed people that knew the time period. I think that was very important. Uh , although it was historical fiction and uh, all the way we say fiction, but it's also historical. So we had to have the material and the information, the storyline be accurate to that particular time period. So I think it was good to have different people on there that had, that had the expertise. One of my friends of course, was that lady that was , uh, she was , uh, especially with the African-American slave children. I had never known anybody to have that particular expertise, but she did. And , uh , so , uh, so you know, it was good to have a committee of people that have historians and museum specialists to make sure that , that everything was as accurate as possible.

Speaker 4:

It strikes me as I was reading the books, that Addie story more than any of the ones that come before. And at least from my perspective, it's just so important to get, right. Because the topic of slavery and her experience is so traumatic and , um , such a heavy topic. You can't really, you don't want to mess that up. No . So as a historian yourself, do you have any perceptions? I know you said you hadn't really encountered American girl before working on this project. Do you have any perceptions about American girl as a project? Like what do you think about this idea of creating this line of historical girls as a educational tool and as a reading tool?

Speaker 7:

I think it's very important. I think it's a way to get young people to know the story that the storylines, and again, because it is history , you know , it's historical fiction, but again, you want it to be as accurate as possible and an authentic. So I think it's good to , to introduce young people to , uh , to a particular time period by doing it as well .

Speaker 4:

Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything that I didn't ask that you wanted to share about Addie or American girl or anything?

Speaker 7:

I want to make sure that people knew, and of course everybody on that committee wanted to make sure that , uh, people that escape slavery, you know, often had the lead people behind. And one of the stories was this was the fact that they left this maybe behind as they were escaping because they were afraid, you know , she would make no noise and that show the slave catchers where they were. But a lot of times , uh, after people , uh , escaped from slavery and settle wherever, they were, a lot of times, they , after the civil war, they wanted to go back and look for their relatives. So that was one of the storylines that we did. And that was me and the lady child's labor lady , uh , wanted to get. Right. And she asked me once she said, what do you think about them going back and getting this, this, this child that they left behind, of course, which was of course now a young lady. And I said, yeah, I think they should have , because a lot of times people put ads in papers when they could afford it, they would go back to their home sites to look for their relatives. So that was what , uh, what they did. They went back to , uh, after things , uh, you know, many, many years later and found this young lady that they had left behind as a little baby and also the storyline of , um, the brother went off to the war and luckily they will have an , a parade after slavery was over in Pennsylvania. And that was where they , they reunited, they , uh, you know, he was watching in this parade and they, you know, they found each other again. So w it was a mainly thing that families try to reunite as much as possible , uh, you know, after slavery was always. So that was a very, very important , uh, because you know, family was so very important to people and we wanted to make sure that we got that storyline out there.

Speaker 4:

Thank you so much for sharing with me today and being here with me today. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 7:

Well, thank you for having me and thank you. But the thinking about Matt , it's been an essay. It's been a long time since I've worked on that project, but it was a wonderful project to work on. And I , I really enjoyed it

Speaker 4:

As per usual. We're going to play a little game here. And I thought in keeping with Addy's series, we could have a spelling bee. So I thought we could do this sudden depth style. Oh God. And I have found a New York times article, which has about 15 words from the 20, 21 national spelling bee and some winning words from past bees . So I'll mix it up, but I'll tell you what, where yours is from. Let me buckle up. Here we go. Yeah. So , um , I can give you a, I can give you a definition and I can use it in a sentence if you'd like. So just let me know. All right , Candice, your word is vamoose vamoose. Yep . Okay. Here we go. You're ready. Ready? V a M O U S S E incorrect. The moose that is incorrect. I'm so sorry. So now it is how I have to spell that one. Yeah. How you spell the moose? The moose

Speaker 1:

V a M O O S E

Speaker 4:

[inaudible] . All right, Heather, your word is Andy stoma and B stoma. Can you give me etymology on that or just a definition? I can not give you the

Speaker 2:

Go for the definition. It

Speaker 4:

Is a genus of common salamanders confined to America.

Speaker 2:

Hey , um, I don't need a sentence for that. And B stoma, a M B I S T O M a incorrect. Hello ? How was the one already ? Oh, it's because Candice and I are out.

Speaker 4:

Maybe we should have done the best of three. Okay. Just for fun. Everyone's going to spell one more. Okay . But can you at least

Speaker 1:

Tell us how to spell that one?

Speaker 4:

Yes . A M B Y S T O

Speaker 2:

Etymology on it. Can't you get that in this ,

Speaker 4:

The spelling bee . I think you can, but the New York times did not provide oh, okay. I don't think

Speaker 1:

Their teacher was providing that. So we take, we can get that's probably

Speaker 4:

True. Okay. So this is, we'll do some winning words . So the, all those words were from 2021. We'll do some winning words. So this is the winning word from 1930. Are you ready? I'm ready? Your word? Candice is fractious . Wait, what?

Speaker 2:

So actually, can I make a correction? Yeah. So I used to wear a perfume that is called this, and it is pronounced for car , for

Speaker 4:

Car, for

Speaker 2:

Car . Okay . So it's a French origin.

Speaker 4:

It is a French origin word. I do know that. Oh, my goodness definition are used in a definition. It's a noisy quarrel for car , um, for a car F R a C H H . Do you want to try? How are , do you want me to spell it? I want to try

Speaker 1:

Going to get it right . But I can try F R a C a, you know ,

Speaker 4:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

Asked you how you pronounce it, because I was going to say F R a C O I

Speaker 4:

S

Speaker 1:

She said it was French. I'm like, okay. We, we,

Speaker 2:

No , and the perfume is really weird. Like, it's a very like heavy , um , tuberose scent, but like, it has like a note of gasoline. So if you get a chance to smell it, it's like a super polarizing. Perfect. Truly do. So. Yes, I embrace this scent like hardcore, but like, people either love it or they hate it. It's worth smelling. If you get a chance,

Speaker 4:

I really want a perfume that makes people form really strong opinions about me.

Speaker 2:

I'm going in for like major silage. You walk into the room and people are like, I hate that girl.

Speaker 4:

Okay. I want to do you each get one more. Okay. How, what your word is in sushi , in what? In sushi. And can you use it in a sentence? This is , this is not a helpful sense that I'm going to read it to you. Anyway, carefree, the definition is lighthearted unconcerned. The sentences in sushi wizard sits in depth chair, crowd at radio fair gasps. As he defies current and iron bar melts in

Speaker 2:

His mouth. That's the worst sentence ever written. How

Speaker 3:

Are you got this?

Speaker 4:

It's from a news article from 1927. Wow.

Speaker 1:

And S you know, I N S C no. No.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Okay. It's I N S O U C I a N T, correct.

Speaker 1:

Wow. I would not have put that. Oh , there.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. All right . Um , I don't think this one is French .

Speaker 2:

I'm going to fail then. Zan . TOSAs that sounds like a split . Okay. So that's, that's Greek. It's going to start with an X . Can I have a definition?

Speaker 4:

It is a yellow discoloration of the skin from abnormal causes.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Is anthesis let's try X, a N T H O S I S. Correct.

Speaker 3:

Wow. I'm impressed.

Speaker 4:

All right. Well, how about technically one? But I feel like Heather one also,

Speaker 2:

They're all winners here. That was

Speaker 4:

Fun. Good job.

Speaker 1:

Good job. What'd I get for winning a prize .

Speaker 2:

You should have brought us cookies that were letter shaped.

Speaker 3:

I almost thought about doing that, but I was like, is that too gross? Cause we're in a pandemic

Speaker 4:

There's donuts in the break room.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah. No, we can cut them in half and make it a seat. Each episode we ask whether our book passes, the Bechdel test, the back Dell test asks with her work features two female characters who talk to each other about something that doesn't involve men or boys. So does Addy pass? Yes. With flying colors, right? Yeah. For sure. All the Mandir conversations, all the conversations with Mama. I think even her

Speaker 3:

And Harriet, they don't talk about boys right now.

Speaker 2:

She and Sarah talk about just everything school. The way the world works is a very girl focused book.

Speaker 3:

We've been thinking about like how Connie Porter's quote about like being an author. Like, she was very aware of like racism and sexism. So it kind of doesn't surprise me. That

Speaker 1:

Makes sense.

Speaker 2:

Love her. I do too , man . These were just on another level from the other ones that were read in terms of the writing

Speaker 3:

And icon

Speaker 1:

Between these books and just books that I just read on my own. I probably read like 46 books this year. And , um , the Addy series has been amongst my favorites of the year. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Like I think they're legitimately good books and that's probably the first time I've said,

Speaker 4:

I want to read her adult books now. Yeah, I do too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Agreed. All right. I'm a fan girl. Now I'm seasoned

Speaker 4:

Break book club at some point. We'll do that.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's it for this episode of these books made me join us next time. When we'll discuss a book about a girl who saves her treasures in a memory box, if you think you know which book we're tackling next, drop us a tweet. We're @pgcmls on Twitter and #TheseBooksMadeMe. You can also send us your questions@thesebooksmademe@pgcmls.info for historical deep dives and readalikes check out our blog, which is linked in the episode notes.

Intro
What did this book mean to us
Connie Rose Porter Bio
Plot summaries
Meet Addy
Addy Learns a Lesson
Addy's Surprise
Happy BIrthday, Addy
Addy Saves the Day
Changes for Addy
Ella's Ephemera
What stuck with us
Commercial
Janet Sims-Wood Expert interview
Spelling bee game
Does it pass the Bechtel test?