American Girl Doll Welcomes Somali Children to Library
Samira Ali is the newest member of the Lewiston Public Library’s American Girl Doll family, created especially for the children of Lewiston. Through an extremely generous donation by an anonymous donor, Library Technician Danielle Fortin was able to pick a custom doll. Fortin chose a doll off the My America line of American Girl Dolls and customized it to look like a Lewiston Somali-American.
Over the last fifteen years, Lewiston has seen an influx of more than 6,000 residents with roots in Somalia and east Africa and many of these New Mainer families use the library. Fortin’s plan called for a doll that looked like the youth that came to the library, one with which they could identify. Her overall goal with this project was to give the Somali children of Lewiston a doll and story that matches their own.
Over the winter, children were invited to suggest and then vote on a name for the doll. Samira Ali was the top voted name out of the many names suggested. Samira has a custom wardrobe including two traditional dresses, several dresses and skirts, and two custom hijabs that Fortin made. Fortin and a teen volunteer will write a history story for Samira as well. Her story will mirror the stories of many of our Somali children and the difficulties they face moving to America, and Lewiston in particular, while learning to speak English in a new environment.
Lewiston Public Library