An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends For Life

Ages: 6 - 10Producer: Amazon Studios

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & design, and math) factors heavily into the plot of An American Girl Story: Summer Camp, Friends for Life, a 32-minute movie featuring a diverse cast of young teen girls, among them Z, a character based on the American Girl doll Z Yang.

The storyline follows Z, a die-hard “techie” and film maker and her and engineering friend Paz as they arrive at summer camp. Although billed as a STEAM camp, the camp director welcomes the girls by (kindly) confiscating all tech. (No cell phone? No iPad? No screen of any kind? GASP!) As the story’s camp director says, “Sometimes when we immerse ourselves in technology, we cut ourselves off from nature and from each other.” The unplugged adventure challenges the campers to apply their knowledge of science, and their creative and critical thinking skills, to collaborate, innovate, and even solve a camp mystery.

A departure from the American Girl series’ usual format, i.e. storylines set against the backdrop of a particular time period, this brief movie is short on history, character development and depth of storyline, but the modern-day setting and STEAM-theme does send positive messages about friendship, persistence and the importance of fresh perspectives.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.