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One Little Doll Inspiring Girls for 15 Years

KAYA READATHON2.jpg

Creating a love of reading and honoring history. That's the big mission behind one little doll.

It's tough to get nearly one-hundred 4th grade girls to sit still for long. But try giving them a good book. A drastic difference as seen at Lapwai's celebration of one special series on Friday.

The Nez Perce tribe's economic development planner, Ann McCormack, says, "Reintroducing the books to young readers to have a read-a-thon and share Kaya's stories."

Kaya is a fictional character in the American Girl realm and is the star of several books. She also just celebrated a big birthday. Kaya was introduced 15 years ago in 2002.

McCormack says, "These girls weren't even born yet."

Friday's read-a-thon included 4th graders from Lapwai, Orofino, and Kamiah, who read and discussed the Pacific Northwest-based story.

Skylin says, "She's like one of us, a Nimiipuu girl."

Kaya's stories take place in 1764 and reflect Nimiipuu culture and history. But though the fictional character is technically over 250 years old, she's still relatable to most nine year olds.

Grace and her friends, Cynthia, Madden, and Taya giggle as she says, "She is bad and she gets whoopins."

Kaya is described as rash and headstrong. Her favorite activity is racing horses. But she's also a great role model.

Dana and Junee agree. "Kaya, she's really encouraging. She's really inspiring because she's confident and adventurous. I just like her. She's cool."

Skylin says, "I just really relate to Kaya because she's like me."

Mary Jane Miles, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe, says, "That's what she reflects - the innocence of our young girls and what lies ahead, that they can be proud of who they are."

At the end of the day each girl received a keepsake. The American Girl company provided these dolls as a gift.

One excited girl exclaims, "She's so pretty!"

Skylin and her friends are thankful for this opportunity, saying, "They're actually really expensive. It's a once in a lifetime thing."

Another surprise - the girls also learned they had the opportunity to participate in Saturday's Lewiston Roundup parade aboard a Kaya-themed float.

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