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Literature / American Girls: Addy

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Released in 1993, Addy Walker was the fifth historical character of American Girls Collection, representing the Civil War Era. First a slave in North Carolina, then escapes to Philadelphia Her family is separated and has to reunite, and stories focus on issues faced by former slaves, such as catching up on the education they'd been denied and the fact that "free" black people weren't all that free, even in the North.

  1. Meet Addy, Addy Learns a Lesson, Addy's Surprise — in omnibus format as Finding Freedom
  2. Happy Birthday, Addy!, Addy Saves the Day, Changes for Addy — in omnibus format as A Heart Full of Hope
  3. Short stories: "Addy Studies Freedom", "Addy's Wedding Quilt", "Addy's Little Brother" (originally published as "The Little Brother"), "Addy's Summer Place", "High Hopes for Addy"
  4. Mystery: Shadows on Society Hill
  5. Other: None

The series includes the following tropes:

  • Alpha Bitch: Addy's classmate Harriet Davis.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Changes for Addy. Yes, Addy's whole family is reunited once more, but Uncle Solomon dies before he can reunite with the Walkers, and Auntie Lula dies a few days after returning Esther to the family.
  • But Not Too Black: Averted. One article shares that some executives first wanted to give Addy straighter hair to make it "easier" for white girls unaccustomed to textured hair to play with. The advisory board finally said that while some children born into slavery did have straight hair and other "white" features, giving these to the character would necessitate explaining exactly why that was. The matter was promptly dropped.
  • The Chew Toy: Sarah Moore hardly seems to catch a break. She is the daughter of impoverished parents who often has to put off her studies and laundering her clothing just to help her mother with the laundry orders, the rich girls snicker at the fact that she attends school in stained dresses, she is falling far behind in her reading and spelling compared to her formerly illiterate friend Addy, she is often more self-conscious and has acquired a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses as a result of segregation and the social hierarchy in school, and she finally has to drop out of school just to help her family earn more money to get by. Addy offers to come over and help her catch up on schoolwork.
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  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Sarah is the daughter of a washerwoman and helps her mother with the wash, they often get so much to wash that they can't clean a lot of her school clothing. Sarah ends up going to school in shabby or stained dresses with wealthier girls that make fun of her.
  • Cool Teacher: Addy's teacher Miss Dunn is one. She's a black female teacher, unusual for her time, even in the North. What makes her cooler is that she's quite perceptive and progressive for her time. For example she's understanding when it comes to the negative impact slavery has had on educational opportunity for the black community, she never shames Addy for poor reading skills as some teachers would, and she catches on to Harriet Davis' mean girl agenda quickly.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Addy is named after her great-grandmother, Aduke.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Prior to the events of Meet Addy, Sam had ran away and was caught and was whipped in front of his family. Addy was bawling while her parents looked on with barely a trace of emotion. She tells them how upsetting it was to see they didn't look sad, and her father told her that it's only because they aren't free to express their emotions and its only on the inside that they're free.
  • Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Addy's snood from her birthday outfit has some.
  • Force Feeding: In the first book, Addy is worming tobacco plants, gets distracted, and misses a tobacco worm; an overseer finds it and makes Addy eat it.
  • Honorary Uncle: Uncle Solomon and Auntie Lula, older folks on Master Stevens' plantation who are said to have helped parents Ben and Ruth Walker even before Sam, Addy, and Esther were born. Ruth leaves Esther in their care, and they take it upon themselves to follow her and Addy to freedom and reunite Esther with her family.
  • Iconic Item: A cowrie shell Addy's great-grandmother brought from Africa, strung on one of her brother's shoelaces to remind her of her family.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: The Walker family, As Addy remarks at the end of her first book, she and her mother take their freedom, with the rest of their family gradually joining them later.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the first book, Addy's brother Sam teaches her a riddle, so in Saves the Day...
    Addy: [doing a puppet show] What's smaller than a dog, but can put a bear on the run?
    Soldier in Crowd: That's an easy riddle! Even my little sister knows that one! It's a skunk!
  • Meaningful Name: Addy is short for "Aduke" meaning "much loved" and her family bonds are the core of the story.
  • Missing Mom: Inverted Trope — everyone in Addy's family is missing except her mom.
  • Pass Fail: Is behind Addy's family's troubles in "Shadows on Society Hill"; Uncle Solomon's niece was passing as white and feared Addy and her family would expose her. Addy ultimately does do this but in defending her family rather than any malice and a part of her understands why the woman did it; the "Looking Back" section discusses this phenomenon and its aftereffects.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Addy Learns a Lesson has Sarah drift away from Addy when the latter is taken in by Harriet's tricks. They patch things up, though.
  • Riddle Me This: Though he doesn't use them to block anyone's path, Sam Walker loves riddles and is often telling them.
  • Sadistic Choice: In the first book, Ruth Walker has to leave her baby daughter Esther behind when she and Addy run away. The harshness of the choice is downplayed, because it's conveyed from Addy's point of view.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Harriet when she loses to Addy in the spelling competition.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Addy's mother works as a seamstress in a dress shop. Addy herself learns how to sew hems and ends up making a scarf to give to her mother as a Christmas present.

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