Meet Luciana: the American Girl “Girl of the Year 2018”

Just when my daughter announces that she is too old for her American Girl dolls, American Girl comes out with a theme for their 2018 Girl of the Year (GOTY) that has my science geek and space fan agog and eyeing this year’s line with keen interest.

I’ve always been a fan of how American Girl’s characters inspire girls, and we both agree that the 2018 GOTY is the best yet!



3…2…1…It’s time to blast off with American Girl’s 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega! Officially launching on January 1, Luciana is the latest in American Girl’s long line of inspiring characters that encourage girls to think about who they want to be and how they want to make their mark in the world—no matter the challenges they may face. In Luciana, girls will meet a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. And, while she has the skills and smarts to achieve her goals, she also learns that being a good leader and team player right here on Earth is the best first step.

“Luciana is a role model for today’s girls—empowering them to defy stereotypes, and embrace risks that will teach them about failure and success as they chart their own course in life—whatever the goal. For us, it’s all about building girls of strong character, and it’s why we’re continuing to encourage girls to lead change and embrace #charactercounts.”


The Luciana doll features brown eyes, medium skin, and dark brown hair with a distinctive purple streak (like my kiddo often sports) to show off her creative side.    Other STEM-inspired outfits, accessories, and products that reflect her Space Camp® experience include Luciana’s Flight Suit and Space Suit, her Maker Station, and a Mars Habitat loaded with science and research essentials for hours of pretend play.


New this year is additional exclusive content accessed via the American Girl app.  Girls can scan Luciana’s catalogue pages and products to unlock exclusive content such as augmented reality, trailers and videos, space simulations, quizzes and challenges, and much more.

Of course, my reader will not be disappointed! One of her favorite aspects of the American Girl characters – the chapter book series – are available now.    The first two books written by Erin Teagan (and published by Scholastic) introduce readers to Luciana, a young girl of Chilean descent with a serious science streak, who loves the idea of exploring new territories in space. After winning a scholarship to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, Luciana is thrilled to launch her dream of landing on Mars. But as she ascends from Space Camp kid to youth astronaut trainee, she faces many challenges that test her competitive spirit and self-confidence, and she must find the courage to embrace the unknown with bravery, curiosity, and wonder.

Luciana Luciana

To help ensure the accuracy of Luciana’s story and product line, American Girl worked with the following four-member Advisory Board who were integral to Luciana’s development: Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist; Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center; Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, NASA Astronaut; and Maureen O’Brien, Manager of Strategic Alliances at NASA.

In addition, a team of American Girl editors and product designers visited Space Camp and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to gain insight into a day in the life of a Space Camp trainee—from putting on space suits and learning about the “right” way to eat in space to conducting a mission in micro-gravity. American Girl’s partnership with NASA was developed through the Space Act Agreement to inform and inspire the wider public (and especially young girls) about the excitement of space and STEM careers.  After visiting the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama earlier in 2017 and seeing all the Space Camp participants as we toured, Space Camp is a dream for my daughter and this book will only amp up her enthusiasm for the adventure.

To engage girls and boys with Luciana’s message, American Girl—in partnerships with Scholastic, NASA, and Space Camp—has funded Blast Off to Discovery, an educational program to help third though fifth-grade students explore the wonder of space through Luciana-inspired content, including STEM-based lesson plans and classroom activities, videos, a game, and more. The program will be available on starting January 31, 2018. In addition, American Girl and Scholastic will host a Mission to Mars Sweepstakes where families can go on a series of weekly missions for a chance to win several prizes, including a grand prize trip to Space Camp valued at over $2,000.

Of course, American Girl will be hosting various Luciana-themed initiatives throughout the year, and you can learn more, by visiting  One that piqued by “I’m too old for my doll” girl’s interest (as well as a request for a Luciana spacesuit)  is a Luciana-Themed Space camp, where girls and their families can train just like astronauts—including taking a tumble spin in the Multi-Axis Trainer and designing a robot—at a special Girl of the Year experience created in partnership with Space Camp starting in summer 2018. American Girl is also sponsoring 20 scholarships to attend Space Camp.

We love American Girl for its ability to inspire MY girl and feed her interests. She confessed that she isn’t into dancing anymore so hasn’t played with her dolls recently, but I think Luciana’s space and science themed accessories might quietly inspire more imaginative play while feeding her own dreams. And that I can get on board with.



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: