Valerie Alva-Ruiz, created Selma's Dolls ($39.99) in partnership with fellow mom Courtney Stillwagon to mirror the beauty within every religion, culture and physical and mental disability.
As they chatted about work and children, "we realized our little girls’ ragdolls didn’t reflect the world around them," explained Stillwagon. Recognizing a gap in the marketplace, they decided to start their own company (while keeping their day jobs!) with the mission of teaching children to love, appreciate and embrace differences.
The results are
- Annie who wears a blue and yellow butterfly dress pattern to represent awareness for people with Down syndrome.
- Lola wears a Mexican-inspired print that’s a nod to Alva-Ruiz’s heritage.
- Ameena wears the color green, as green has a number of traditional associations and meanings in Islam.
Annie, Lola and Ameena’s clothing incorporates the olive branch that is a universal symbol of peace and part of the Selma’s Dolls logo.
Measuring 12.8 inches tall, the soft dolls are perfectly sized for little hands to grasp and hug, yet sturdy enough to sit upright. Selma’s Dolls are lightweight and can be spot cleaned.
Accompanying every doll is a illustrated storybook "First Day of School". The 18-page hardback book features a little girl named Selma – the inspiration behind Selma’s Dolls – who overcomes her first day of school jitters with the help of some new friends. Each friend is able to teach Selma something beautiful and help Selma see that we are all much more the same than we are different.
The book includes conversation starters to help parents and caregivers talk with their child about how everyone’s differences are beautiful.
To learn more, sign up for the Selma’s Dolls Newsletter on the website, www.selmasdolls.com
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