Kanani – Girl of the Year 2011

Kanani Akina, Girl of the Year 2011 | American Girl

Kanani could’ve very easily been my first American Girl doll… if I hadn’t been saving up for something much, much more important at the time – my wedding! But… three years later…


She’s MINE!

I finally bit the bullet and bought Kanani. She’s even prettier in person!

Kanani is my first “Jess mold” doll (first created for Japanese/Scottish-Irish 2006 Girl of the Year Jess McConnell). Although the mold is known for issues with uneven eyes, my Kanani’s eyes are perfect!


Kanani, fresh from her box

Her “meet” outfit is really sweet! Her sky blue dress goes well with her hair and skin tone, and it also has some hidden sequins scattered throughout. Her beaded necklace and hair flower are a nice touch, too. Her sandals aren’t too amazing… in fact, they’re pretty loose. I can see why she came with clear bands attaching them to her feet.


Marie-Grace Gardner and Kanani Akina

Kanani’s wig is VERY long and silky – maybe a little longer than Marie-Grace’s – but definitely thinner (which probably helps keep her from falling over). I kept her hair down for awhile, but finally decided to put it into braids, which she still looks very cute in. Her skin tone is slightly darker and redder compared to MG’s more yellow tones, and her hair is slightly lighter than MG’s, but has more red to it. Kanani’s hazel eyes also seem like a unique shade. They’re darker and less green than Isabelle’s.


Aloha, Kanani – the book introducing Kanani

Her introductory story, Aloha, Kanani, is surprisingly good! After reading Isabelle’s, I honestly didn’t have high expectations for Kanani’s. (And yes, I realize I’m not the target audience, but c’mon, really? “Wah, I’m attending an exclusive performing arts academy, but I worry I’m not good enough!” Exactly how many kids can relate? I know with my watch-PBS-and-try-to-imitate-the-ballerinas method of “learning” ballet as a kid, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to. Anyway!)

Aside from the GORGEOUS pictures by Sarah Davis, there are so many elements of Kanani’s book that I love. The theme of “family” is especially relatable for me. The Hawaiian culture is similar to Maltese in that family is number one – and not everyone has to be blood-related to be family. I love the conversations between Kanani and her “aunts” (they remind me a lot of my own aunts), and that she easily falls into the role of host when visitors arrive (that’s usually my role, too). I also really like that her parents aren’t just magically wealthy – you can tell that it’s taken a lot of hard work to keep and build their family business. In short, I liked the first book so much, I got the second one.

I’m really happy I was able to add Kanani to my collection. She’s a fantastic doll based on a relatable, fun character. I hope American Girl will continue to make more characters like Kanani – she’s definitely one of my favorites. ♥



2 thoughts on “Kanani – Girl of the Year 2011

  1. This might just seal the deal for me … I haven’t understood what the big deal is about Kanani, but I never saw her in person and SO many people love her. I am going to have to break down and get her eventually. Her and McKenna and Nellie. And Elizabeth too, if they ever haul Felicity out of the archives. So many dolls, so little time :).

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