‘The book represents me’

Hillsborough Middle School student plays pivoting role in the development of American Girl's first South Asian doll

0
173
Hillsborough Middle School student Arusha Bhargava with Mayor Shawn Lipani. She played a pivoting role in the development of the 2023 Girl of the Year as a youth advisor to American Girl. PHOTO COURTESY OF HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP

American Girl doll Kavika “Kavi” Sharma made national headlines earlier this year as the company’s first South Asian doll.

On top of that, the Girl of the Year was local, an 11-going-on-12-year-old Indian girl living in Metuchen, Middlesex County.

Hillsborough Middle School student Arusha Bhargava played a pivoting role in the development of the 2023 Girl of the Year as a youth advisor to American Girl.

And for that Mayor Shawn Lipani and the Hillsborough Township Committee honored her with a proclamation at a recent meeting.

“Arusha dedicated her time to shaping Kavi’s cultural background and identity providing commentary edits to the two associated books that associate with her and it was featured in a four-page interview at the end of the book, ‘It’s Showtime Kavi,’ [by Varsha Bajaj]” according to the proclamation.

Bhargava, an eighth grader, attended the American Girl of Kavi and shared her insights with NBC nightly news – Kids Edition with Lester Holt and met the president of American Girl.

She presented a copy of “It’s Showtime Kavi” to the mayor during the meeting.

“This has been a great honor doing this project, it was a great opportunity,” Bhargava said. “Working on this project taught me a lot about the writing process and comparing the editing process to the final result. It proved what my teachers have been telling me on how books can be like mirrors to little kids, but also windows into other people’s lives.

“This book proves it for me. [The book] represents me … I would like to say and I want to thank my parents who raised me and taught me about my culture so I could be qualified enough for this [opportunity].”