Young Girls from the Middle Ages

Learning Comes to Life Through Books

Tiffany and Felicity, learning together

When my daughter, Tiffany, was four years old, we moved into our first house. In our neighborhood were two girls who lived just two doors away. One was exactly Tiffany’s age and the other was two years older.

The three girls were inseparable, playing dress-up and Barbies. But there was one thing these girls played with that Tiffany knew nothing about: American Girl.

We thumbed through the catalog Tiffany brought home after a play date, looking at the dolls representing girls from various historic periods. Tiffany kept returning to the pages showing Kirsten and told me that if she could have one of the American Girls, Kirsten would be it.

A few weeks later, a box arrived for Tiffany containing the Kirsten doll and accompanying book. She excitedly grabbed the doll and the book from the box and was gone.

Within a matter of days, Tiffany had read through the book. We ordered the next and then the next, Tiffany devouring and re-reading each book in rapid succession. We ordered some of the doll accessories to build Kirsten’s world. And the girls played and played.

Later that year, we traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for an abbreviated vacation. At a museum near Stone Mountain, I noticed an object on display. To this day, I cannot remember what the item was. While my husband and I stood there wondering what it was and how it might have been used, Tiffany marched right up to the display case, took one look at the object, and launched into a very detailed explanation of what the piece was, what it did, and how it was used. When I asked her how she knew all of this, she said simply, “Oh, Kirsten has one.”

Not long after that, American Girl introduced Felicity. Tiffany put the doll, books, and some accessories on her Christmas list. After months of play with her second American Girl doll, Tiffany informed us that for vacation she really wanted to go to Williamsburg, Virginia. When we reminded her of our original plan to go to Disney, she replied, “No, I want to go to see where Felicity lived.”

The real magic of those dolls and books was the American history that my daughter learned. She relived history through the eyes of remarkable young girls who lived in those time periods.

Her learning inspired me, and the Medieval Maidens series is a result of that inspiration. It is my sincere hope that I can recreate that joy and enthusiasm for learning in the girls who pick up the Medieval Maidens books to discover Charlemagne’s Aachen through Gisela, France of the Middle ages through Adele and Isabelle, Medieval Istanbul through Gevrehan, and Renaissance England through Mary.

I am a firm believer that the best gift we can give our children is the gift of learning.

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