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Are You a Samantha? A Molly? An Addy?: Deck Out in American Girl Nostalgia Goods

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

I could tell several stories of how the American Girl book series traveled with me through my childhood. Some experiences were good — I learned a lot about history and was exposed to stories of girls who lived through these times in a way no textbook would share. Others were less good — I had a stepparent who was abusive, and when she forced me to get my ears pierced and I did not want to, she bribed me into consenting by offering to buy me the entire run of Addy’s books in return…and I never actually got them. Some were also the product of growing up without much money. I loved going to my friends’ houses who had the dolls for us to play with, as I did not so much as own any of the books. Mine had all been borrowed. One year, I wore a velvet dress for the holidays, pretending I was Samantha.

It wouldn’t surprise me to know other millennials and those who came of age afterward have some kind of memory of these enduring works of historical fiction. I get struck with all of these memories and more whenever I drive a few miles north of where I live, where American Girl used to have a warehouse. The signs are even still there, if tarnished from harsh Wisconsin winters.

The series has expanded since those days, incorporating an even wider range of stories and experiences of girls through American history. There is more diversity, inviting readers to both see and be seen across a range of life experiences and historical moments.

If you loved American Girl stories or want to revel in American Girl nostalgia, I’ve pulled together an array of fun goods from Etsy that pay homage to the series and its girls. One of the tricky things about loving a franchise is how well-meaning fans can create art and sell it without knowing they’re infringing on copyright. But these pieces would fall under the homage category, meaning you should feel good knowing you’re both supporting a small creator AND not playing into copyright issues.

Note that most of the goods below have options for other American Girls. You can toggle over to the Etsy shop to find those.

Image of a black tote with white text. It says "Felicity + Addy + Molly + Samantha."

This might be Kirsten erasure, but this sure is a snazzy American Girl tote bag. $25

Image of a canvas tote bag with the American girls's illustrated portraits.

Here’s another cool tote bag option, too. The messaging for each of these girls is great. $20

Image of an enamel pin bearing Addy Walker's face

Wear Addy’s likeness on your tote bag or jacket or, if you’re like me, put her on the banner you keep with all of your fun enamel pins. $16

Image of a bookmark with an illustration of Kiersten. It is being held by a white hand in front of a shelf of white books.

Choose your favorite American Girl bookmark or pick up a set of five. $4 each or $15.50 for the set.

Image of a white mug with pink text. It says "Forever a Josefina."

Sip your bevvy of choice from a mug bearing the silhouette of your forever American Girl. $14

Image of a black mineral wash tee. It features Samantha.

There are so many fun American Girl nostalgia finds but this might be my favorite: it’s a vintage, rock-style T-shirt showcasing your choice of American Girls as the center of attention. This…is perfection. $35

Image of a transit mapping of american girl books.

You’ll need to click over to see this thing in its fully glory. Ever wanted to see where and how the stories of the original six American Girls connected or diverged, a la a transmit map? Now you can. This is so cool. $24

Image of a cross stitch pattern featuring images representing Samantha. It reads "I'm a Samantha."

There is only a Samantha option, but if you’re into cross-stitch, you’ll want to give this downloadable American Girl pattern a whirl. $4

Image of Molly cross stitch

There are more options to choose from here. All six of the original American Girls as cross-stitch patterns include them in several different outfit options. $27 gets you the entire downloadable bundle of patterns.

Image of 3 vinyl stickers, one with Samantha, one with Kirsten, and one with Molly.

Choose your American Girl vinyl sticker to adorn your laptop. $5

Image of a sticker featuring several American Girls.

Can’t choose which girl is your favorite? Why not pick up an American Girl sticker with the whole crew? $9

Image of all the American Girls on a bookmark.

Pop your entire posse of American Girls into your book with this bookmark. $5 and up.

Image of hand painted peg dolls in the likeness of the original 6 American Girls.

The artistry and precision and the details are incredible on these American Girl peg dolls. Grab one for $15 or buy the entire lot.

Itching to revel in American Girl nostalgia some more? We’ve got you with a ton of great stuff: