An American Girl Story — Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance
Kiddo has more American Girl dolls than I can count on both hands, but of all the historical characters, Truly Me dolls, and Girls of the Year, I’ve always been a big fan of the Friend Collections. I’ve always found it endearing how two gal pals from different backgrounds or home lives could count on each other to find solutions to a variety of hardships and depend on each other for comfort.
While I try not to pick favorites, I have a soft spot in my heart for Ivy & Julie for a number of different reasons. Mostly, they are “my people” and I can relate, especially when watching them on the big screen. Set in 1976, that was when I was growing up, listening to the same albums, dressed the same, and dreaming of a life far, far away in California where these characters are based. My parents were split up like Julie’s folks, and my good friend was a different nationality and proudly lived in a home which embraced their culture and religion even when it meant she’d have to forego many fun “kid” things and parties for the sake of tradition.
Sometimes Life Doesn’t Have to Be So Complicated
Raising a 10-year old daughter has taught me a very valuable lesson that was mirrored in American Girl’s latest movie: An American Girl Story — Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance. Don’t make life harder than it has to be. We jump to conclusions a lot before even trying to communicate a solution and I need to keep in mind that my daughter’s hopes and dreams are just as important as many of my obligations. In the case of Ivy Ling, the 10-year old Chinese-American finds herself conflicted between her two cultural identities because she really wants to compete in this year’s city finals in gymnastics, but unfortunately the event falls on the same time her entire family will be celebrating Chinese New Year dinner for the first time together. When she realizes this, Ivy relies on Julie to guide her with a difficult choice.
Julie Albright on the other hand is dealing with her parents divorce and splitting her time between living with her mom and dad which is difficult for her. The bright side is when she visits her dad, she gets to spend time with her best friend Ivy. Together they depend on each other for moral support and realize, life doesn’t have to be so bad if they look at the bright side and find some middle ground.
But after spending an afternoon with at her grandparents Chinese restaurant, Ivy realizes that she’s in fact blessed to be able to celebrate both cultures, and has a change of heart. And like every mom, the moment she notices this change, she makes both happen and finds a way for the entire family to cheer Ivy on, and celebrate Chinese New Year as a family afterwards.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching and discussing the Amazon Original Special: An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance with Coco which premieres on Prime Video Friday, March 24th. The first two original American Girl specials for Prime Video, An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win and An American Girl Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas, were based on the characters Melody Ellison and Maryellen Larkin from the BeForever historical-inspired character line. Both specials are currently available to stream on Prime Video.
An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at www.amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. Customers who are not already a Prime member can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.
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