Of the company’s roughly 60 dolls, six, including Corinne, have been of Asian descent, another American Girl spokeswoman said. The company discontinued its only other Chinese American doll, Ivy Ling, in 2014, prompting an outcry from parents.
In 2006 and 2011, the “Girl of the Year” dolls were partially of Asian descent, the company said.
American Girl has built an empire off its dolls, which have been an enduring phenomenon since the company was founded in 1986. Children have clamored for the dolls — which cost upward of $100 — not just for the toys themselves, but also for the adventure they bring. American Girl stores offer “spas” and “hair salons” where children can curl their doll’s hair or put cucumbers on their eyes.
Parents often do not mind the price, because the dolls and their back stories have been used to explain difficult subjects, including divorce, war and economic hardship.
In addition to racism, Corinne’s back story explores blended families. Her parents are separated, and she is learning to live with a new stepfather, the company said. Her story was written by the author Wendy Wan-Long Shang.
“What I really hope is that there is some part of Corinne’s story that makes readers feel seen,” Ms. Shang said in a statement.
When Corinne debuted last week, American Girl said it was donating $25,000 to AAPI Youth Rising, an organization that teaches students about anti-Asian xenophobia.
Corinne went on sale last week and will be sold for two years “at minimum,” the company said.
Some Twitter users expressed excitement over the doll and applauded the communities it represented.