Each Doll Comes With Hardback Book That Introduces Friendship With People From All Walks Of Life
Atlanta, GA (August 23, 2018)– Could a little girl named Selma change the way people think about others who may look different from them? Her mother, Valerie Alva-Ruiz, created Selma’s Dolls ($39.99) in partnership with fellow mom Courtney Stillwagon to mirror the beauty within every religion, culture and physical and mental disability.
The debut collection of Selma’s Dolls features ragdolls Annie, Lola and Ameena. The dolls are made for children ages 2 and up as a way to introduce the beauty of differences through play. Via the storybook, parents can teach their children that differences are special and lead to friendship and understanding. And ultimately those differences lead to wonder and acceptance.
The mompreneurs behind Selma’s Dolls were corporate colleagues in Atlanta, GA. As they chatted about work and children, “we realized our little girls’ ragdolls didn’t reflect the world around them,” explained Stillwagon. Recognizing a gap in the marketplace, they decided to start their own company (while keeping their day jobs!) with the mission of teaching children to love, appreciate and embrace differences. They worked quickly, hiring plush industrial designers to create a prototype and working through several iterations to perfect color, texture, size and safety specifications.
The charming results are Annie who wears a blue and yellow butterfly dress pattern to represent awareness for people with Down syndrome. Lola wears a Mexican-inspired print that’s a nod to Alva-Ruiz’s heritage. And lovely Ameena wears the color green, as green has a number of traditional associations and meanings in Islam.
Measuring 12.8 inches tall, the soft dolls are perfectly sized for little hands to grasp and hug yet sturdy enough to sit upright. Annie, Lola and Ameena’s clothing incorporates the olive branch that is a universal symbol of peace and part of the Selma’s Dolls logo. Selma’s Dolls are lightweight and made with a variety of soft and snuggly materials like Jersey Knit fabric. Best of all, each doll can be spot cleaned.
Accompanying every doll is a sweetly illustrated storybook titled First Day of School. The 18-page hardback book features a little girl named Selma – the inspiration behind Selma’s Dolls – who overcomes her first day of school jitters with the help of some new friends. Each friend is able to teach Selma something beautiful and help Selma see that we are all much more the same than we are different. The book includes conversation starters to help parents and caregivers talk with their child about how everyone’s differences are beautiful.
Georgia retailer Treehouse (located in Athens and Decatur) was one of the first stores to carry Selma’s Dolls. Owner Kristen Bach wrote on her store blog, “Selma’s Dolls was created to show and teach young kids that we don’t, nor do we need to, all look the same. Every single one of us is different. We all believe in different things, wear different clothes, talk differently, and think differently. And it’s these differences that make people – and this world – so beautiful.”
“The greatest feedback we’ve gotten from parents is that their kids sleep with their dolls and take them wherever they go,” Stillwagon adds. “These dolls were not made to sit on a shelf… we want them to be loved, taken on play dates and to the park. These dolls should spark conversations that need to happen early in a kid’s life.”
Chimes in Alva-Ruiz, “Our dream is for kids to see differences as just that – differences…to see someone wearing a hijab, or a person with Down syndrome, and instead of asking ‘what’s wrong with that person, mommy?’ they say, ‘Look mommy, that person is just like my doll and I want to be his/her friend.’”
The response from adults nationwide has been inspirational and glowing! Available in specialty shops and online, these consumers shared their excitement on Amazon:
I’m so excited to find these for my children. I’ve been looking for something like this to celebrate differences. These are beautiful, well-made dolls with a terrific story. This is my new, go-to gift!
We are in love with Selma’s Dolls. Our Lola is very well constructed and our daughter loves the soft knit fabrication that she can hug and snuggle. The beautifully written storybook will help us easily show the importance of love and acceptance for all, no matter the differences between us.
You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate the message tucked in every Selma’s Dolls purchase:
I absolutely love these dolls and the message behind them! I do not have any children, but this is my second purchase as a gift for my coworkers’ little girls (I previously bought sweet Annie). I love the packaging, hear nothing but good things from the recipients, and couldn’t be happier with my purchases. I would absolutely recommend buying a Selma’s Doll for any little one in your life, and I can’t wait until there are more to choose from!
The concepts of diversity and inclusion can be tricky when talking to preschoolers yet it is so important. “The conversation about inclusion needs to start early and should be done in a way that’s most relatable to kids,” suggests Alva-Ruiz. “Toys are a natural and fun way to get these important messages across.”
ANNIE – A friend with Down syndrome + Book • $39.99 • Ages 2+
With her blond pigtails and engaging smile, Annie enchants every child who snuggles with her. Inside the hardback book, adults will find a letter and conversation starters, so they can feel comfortable starting the discussion around Down syndrome and other differences without feeling like the need to be an expert.
LOLA – A Mexican-American Friend + Book • $39.99 • Ages 2+
This adorable doll has a brown complexion and wears a pretty red flower in her dark hair, braided to one side. Look for the olive branches incorporated into her Mexican-inspired red dress. This doll, like the other two, comes with the illustrated storybook, First Day of School.
AMEENA – A Muslim Friend + Book • $39.99 • Ages 2+
Ameena wears a beautiful blue hijab, a head covering, worn in public by many Muslim women. Her green tunic represents a number of traditional associations and meanings in Islam. Ameena also comes with the hardback book and conversation starters for parents and caregivers.
ABOUT SELMA’S DOLLS
Launched on Amazon in March 2018, Selma’s Dolls is a ragdoll-and-book set that helps children, in a magical yet authentic way, learn how to love and celebrate differences in one another. Discover how different is beautiful at www.selmasdolls.com.