Molly Morningstar: A Doll for Me
Andrea Coke and M Fernanda Orozco (Illustrator)
Andrea Coke (2021)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (12/2021)
With the holiday season upon us, wish lists for Santa pile up and children across the world seek toys and games. As I reflect with my family on their own past holiday wish lists, representation was a crucial theme. For instance, my mom always wanted a female doctor Barbie doll, and I wanted a female superhero action figure to play with my brother—both toys were rather unheard of at the time. So, it is with no surprise how much I related to and enjoyed “Molly Morningstar A Doll for Me: A Fun Story About Diversity, Inclusion, and a Sense of Belonging.”
Molly Morningstar is invited to her friend’s birthday party. At the party there will be cake and she’s instructed to bring her favorite doll to celebrate. As Molly digs around for a special doll to bring to the party, she becomes upset. Her friend Emma has lots of pretty dolls that all look like her, and Molly wishes she had just ONE that looked like her. Even at the store shopping, she can’t seem to find one that actually looks like her. There doesn’t seem to be anything online, either. Molly Morningstar is determined to have a doll that looks like her, so she makes her own, and all her friends at the birthday party love it, complementing her and telling her all about how Molly and her doll match.
Author Andrea Coke addresses diversity and representation in such a reverberating way that resonates with children and people of diverse backgrounds. Using something as simple as a doll that most people take for granted, Coke shows readers both young and old the power of diversity and inclusion. The illustrations penned by M Fernanda Orozco further show children the lack of inclusion on toy store shelves and displays, in realistic color and graphically crisp images.
Ultimately, Molly has to take it upon herself to create a doll representative of her skin color, hair, and figure. Movies, books, role models, and other daily experiences aren’t always as easy to overcome in the lack of representation, but by exposing children to books such as “Molly Morningstar A Doll for Me” we can begin to chip away at diversity and inclusion piece by piece.