Detroit celebrates American Girl’s Melody debut

Doll company announced a $175,000 donation to Detroit Public Library’s 22 branches, including donation of Melody dolls, books

Stephanie Steinberg
The Detroit News
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More than 300 girls celebrated the debut of the first American Girl from Detroit, Melody Ellison, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit on Saturday.

American Girl President Katy Dickson announced a $175,000 donation that will support the children’s sections at the Detroit Public Library’s 22 branches, including a donation of Melody dolls and books valued at $125,000. Through the donation, the Detroit Public Library will be able to give a free Melody book to any local child through the end of 2016.

Melody is a 9-year-old growing up in Detroit in the mid-1960s.

“She is a singer and loves to perform in church, with her family, and in her community,” according to the American Girl website. “Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, which was gathering momentum, and the music scene, including the success and popularity of Motown Records.”

Denise Lewis Patrick, who authored the two Melody books “No Ordinary Sound” and “Never Stop Singing,” attended the event and signed books. In an American Girl video, she says there are many messages readers will take away from Melody’s story and her role in the community.

“Melody does evolve in her understanding of fairness and equality,” she says, “because she learns to think about it in terms of others and of larger groups of people than just her family or herself and her friends.”

The Melody doll and book is available at for $115. The doll, accessories and books will be available at the Charles H. Wright museum until Sept. 5. and at the temporary American Girl store at Twelve Oaks Mall (open until Jan. 31, 2017).

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