Welcome to Kirsten's World
(AKA Why didn't I wait before doing her where would she be post?)
Just so you know, the history aspect of American Girl has always appealed to me. That's why I love the world books so much-they're like the looking back sections on steroids. Yes, you can find all of this information online, but it is so nice to have it in a child-friendly, colorful volume based on a character. I'll take advantage of it when I have my own children and I love it now. I wish American Girl made these for all the characters but only 8 got a volume like this: Sam, Molly, Kirsten, Josefina, Kaya, Kit, Addy, and Felicity.
I'm going to go through all the world books I currently own (Kirsten obviously, Josefina, Felicity, and Molly) and show you a few pictures that I thought were really cool. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I bought this one on eBay for around $12 shipped. The rest I found in used bookstores for around $10. They aren't too hard to find but if you see one, snatch it up!
The cover, showing Kirsten and some of the key pictures.
A trunk showing what an immigrant family might have brought to their new home.
Once a family left, they probably wouldn't return. All of their worldly possessions had to be packed into a single trunk. Most of it would be useful instead of sentimental. Everything else had to be left behind.
Here's some photos showing the difference between the homes of settlers and those of American Indians. The Dakota Sioux lived in teepees during the winter. The Ojibway lived in wigwams. They lived in larger, cooler homes during the summer. Settlers lived in tiny one room cabins-later, they might build a real house when they had a chance. The first year, their entire focus was on getting the crop in so their homes were very small.
The courtship rituals were discussed as well. For the settlers, courtship was called "sparking." Settlers gave courtship gifts to women they were interested in. These might be tools decorated with rosemaling, a traditional Swedish art form. In the Dakota tribe, courting couples wrapped themselves in a blanket to signify that they wanted to be left alone.
Daily life had one huge similarity-everyone worked a lot. There was a lot to do. Life was more connected than you might think-American Indians and settlers traded quite a bit.
For example, that is a porcelain doll in a Dakota cradleboard-the American Indians traded for her. The Dakota children actually had a lot more toys that the settlers did-compared to the settlers, Dakota kids were kind of spoiled.
Pioneer dress versus Native American dress. This book, in my opinion, did an excellent job showcasing the different lifestyles of the Dakota Sioux and the settlers in Minnesota. The Ojibway were also discussed, but the primary focus was on the Dakota. The pioneer dress has growth tucks so that, as a girl grew older, the dress could still fit her-this saved resources. The Dakota dress was likely decorated with quills from a porcupine. They'd throw a blanket over the animal and use whatever quills were stuck to the blanket. The quills were then dyed into bright colors and used on the dress. Later, the Dakota began to wear Westernized clothing because of the forces of assimilation.
Last picture: so of course, war started. It always does when you take someone's land, refuse to pay for it, and tell them to "eat grass" when they say there's no food. What a shocker! The woman on the right was taken captive and adopted by the Indian woman on the left and their bond lasted a lifetime. It was very touching.
So yep-these books are awesome and I didn't even show you everything! You can find these on eBay, resale groups on Facebook, and used bookstores.