Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Valerie Tripp

Today’s WOD is Valerie Tripp, Born 1951, in Mount Kisco, NY. I had the pleasure to meet Ms. Tripp and her husband at the Constitution Center with my girls and my friend’s daughters. The Constitution Center in Philadelphia had an exhibit of American Girl Dolls. If you have little girls you might have heard of the American Girl Dolls, Valerie Tripp is the genius behind Molly (my Favorite), Samantha, Felicity, Josephina and Kit.

"American Girl" books focus on young women growing up during different periods in American history. Among the girls Tripp has written about are Molly, a nine year old whose father serves in England during World War II; Samantha, an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City; Felicity, who lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, during the outbreak of the American Revolution; Josephina, a young Hispanic girl living in early-nineteenth-century New Mexico; and Kit, who lives in Cincinnati during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

My daughters and my friends daughters went to a lecture by Tripp at the Constitution Center where she told the girls how she got into writing, how difficult it was to deal with the rejection and how she never gave up. She explained to them how the writing and editing process worked and how her work was often changed and cut to fit the publisher’s needs. She talked about the extensive research she does for each girl that she takes on because she wants her stories to be as historically accurate as possible. She was such a delight and she obviously loved all the little girls, she stayed ALL DAY and took their questions and we ran into her several times throughout the day (our girls considered her a bit of a Rock Star). She was so very encouraging and by the end of the day she knew all of our girls names and what each one of them wanted to do with their lives.

Valerie’s work has opened up a world to young girls all over the country, all of the books feature a young girl who, for some reason, has to overcome circumstances beyond their control and each girl is portrayed as strong and capable. They are amazing role models for little girls, it empowers them knowing that other girls their age have overcome as bad if not worse circumstances then they find themselves in. In addition, as a special bonus, these girls learn American History through the story’s of these characters. It is a win win!! Ms. Tripp's books have won many awards, but she is most proud of the Children's Choice awards. Ms. Tripp was honored as a March of Dimes Mother of the Year for voluntary work in the local elementary schools and public libraries of Montgomery County, MD. She lives in Silver Spring with her husband who is a professor of American history, their daughter, and their golden retriever, Bingley.

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