Molly 1Many parents cringe at the mere mention of American Girls dolls. Put the funny faces aside, because the movies, which don’t push purchase of the dolls in any sort of in-your-face way, are real winners and fantastic educational tools for children.

Memorial Day is tomorrow. Thankfully, most American children have no idea what war is. Some have seen Hollywood versions, but when you can turn off the movie or tv, it isn’t the real thing at all. In this movie, we meet Molly, played by the very talented Maya Ritter, along with her family, some friends and her teacher. Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front takes place in 1944, at the height of the USA’s involvement in World War II.

War movies can be both flat in plot and inappropriate for children, but this film has depth and understanding for children. We see how Molly and those around her deal with the fears and uncertainties of being at war, of having family members and other loved ones away, overseas. We see how tragedy impacts a community and how different people can react to the same situation.

Molly 2When Emily, masterfully played by Tory Green, comes to live with the McIntire family to escape the war, viewers get an even closer view, terror-and gore-free, of what life is like for a child in a war zone. We can feel her fear and pain, and through observing the growing friendship between Molly and Emily, we feel how much a friendship is so vital, especially in a tough situation.

These are only some of the many lessons to be learned from Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front – no doll purchases necessary.

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