American Girl Wiki

Singing Bird is the Native friend of Kirsten Larson.

Personality and Facts[]

Singing Bird is a young Indigenous girl close to Kirsten's age. While the central series doesn't state her tribe, Kirsten on the Trail and Welcome to Kirsten's World both clarify that her people are the Dakota (Sioux). Her father, Brave Elk, is the head of their village.

Singing Bird is initially in awe of Kirsten, the same way Kirsten is in awe of her. She is fascinated with Kirsten's yellow hair and nicknames her as such. Singing Bird is quiet, often surprising Kirsten with how swiftly she moves, and loves to explore as much as Kirsten does. Initially the two can only communicate with pictures but, as the two exchange English words, and Kirsten learns a few words from Singing Bird, they communicate better; Singing Bird calls Kirsten her sister. Because the settlers are suspicious of and don't trust the Natives--including Kirsten's parents--Kirsten tries to keeps their friendship secret, which is spoiled in Kirsten on the Trail. The two exchange gifts and Singing Bird brings Kirsten to her village. However, due to white settlements and forced land ceding affecting the local fauna, her people struggle to find good hunting and food and are forced to leave the area.

Singing Bird (and her people) return in Kirsten on the Trail to try hunting at their old location; she is much thinner then, and indicates that food is still scarce for her family. She also shows hesitancy about approaching the cabin, indicating that her parents likely have warned her to stay away from settler's homes.

In the Books[]

Kirsten Learns a Lesson: A School Story[]

Kirsten first meets Singing Bird hiding in the cat tails by the stream. Singing Bird doesn't react to Kirsten's greeting and runs off when she was distracted by the deer. Kirsten finds Singing Bird's footprint and a blue bead she's dropped, and leaves a doll cake she's made in its place. Singing Bird returns, takes the doll cake, and places a duck feather where it was, which starts a series of gift trades between the two girls.

One night Kirsten decides to leave her gift, bread with honey, and stay until Singing Bird arrives. When Singing Bird arrives, she sees Kirsten and doesn't run off when Kirsten approaches her. She hands Kirsten her gift from her pouch, which Kirsten compliments and calls pretty. Singing Bird is fascinated with Kirsten's hair and touches it. When Kirsten keeps calling Singing Bird's items and clothes pretty, she touches Kirsten's apron and tries to pronounce the word pretty. When Kirsten pulls out her handkerchief, Singing Bird is pleased to see Kirsten has kept all her gifts, and indicates she treasures Kirsten's gift of her handkerchief.

Every day, the girl explore the woods and caves along the stream, and Singing Bird teaches Kirsten how to whistle like a meadowlark. Singing Bird frequently touches Kirsten's braid and this becomes part of her greeting whenever the two girls meet up. Kirsten takes Singing Bird to the doll fort; she calls the place pretty and admires all the homemade doll furniture. She creates her own toy tepee and invites Kirsten to visit her village.

On the day the two agree to meet up again, Singing Bird happily accepts the food Kirsten offers her and instructs Kirsten to follow her. The two run across the field, through a grove of pines, and up a trail to the top of the hill where Singing Bird's people are currently residing. Singing Bird kept close to Kirsten's side as they walked into town, and invites Kirsten to visit her father, Brave Elk. He comments that Singing Bird considered Kirsten a friend, and she was learning a lot of English words from her. Singing Bird shows Kirsten her leather pouch, which held her knife and bone needle, as well as her doll. When Kirsten has to return to school, Singing Bird goes back with her to help find the trail back home.

Kirsten is unable to visit Singing Bird as frequently once her family starts eating with Uncle Olav's family and Miss Winston. Kirsten leaves a yarn doll one evening, which Singing Bird trades for a patch of beadwork. She also leaves a note indicating she wanted to meet Kirsten the following morning, but Kirsten writes that she's unable to make it.

Kirsten doesn't see Singing Bird until she goes to fetch water from the stream after reciting her poem at school. Singing Bird urges Kirsten to come with her--and now, as her people are leaving the area. She explains that her tribe has no food due to poor hunting, and they are going west to find more animals. Singing Bird strokes Kirsten's braid, asking her to come with her. Singing Bird calls Kirsten her sister as she takes her hand.

When Kirsten explains that she can't come, Singing Bird is visibly disappointed. She gives Kirsten the bone needle from her pouch as a gift, and says that she and her people will come back if the deer come back. She touches Kirsten's braid one last time before running off, and she waves from the edge of the forest before running out of sight.

Kirsten on the Trail[]

Kirsten on the Trail 3

Singing Bird helps Kirsten track Peter.

Singing Bird and her people return, and Singing Bird lets Kirsten know she's back by leaving a leather bag decorated with red and gold porcupine quills wrapped in birch bark. She then steps out to greet Kirsten, touching her hair like usual. She is thin enough that Kirsten notices the sharpness of her cheekbones and how her deerskin dress hangs loosely on her. Singing Bird tells Kirsten that there still isn't enough to eat and they've returned to try hunting at their old location, and asks Kirsten to come with her to the village. Kirsten declines, as she has to bring water back to the cabin but says they can meet later; Singing Bird signs that they should meet when the sun is at the top of the pines. However, when Peter tells Mama that Kirsten has been meeting with a Native girl, Mama demands the bag, takes it, and--after lecturing Kirsten about the dangers of Natives--forbids her to meet with Singing Bird.

When Peter goes missing after breakfast, Kirsten again goes to the stream for water and sees Singing Bird again; in the worry of Peter missing, she had forgotten their meeting time. Singing Bird hears that Peter is missing and initially doesn't understand, but once she does she points to his boot marks and says that they show he's running. She then says she can help Kirsten track Peter and leads her through the woods, pointing out various marks of where he's ran, walked, and even fallen. They end up at a nearby ravine, and Papa's bootmarks show that he looked there for Peter but headed down the ravine while Peter's tracks go up the slope. Further tracks Singing Bird read show how Peter struggled through a thicket and was forced to turn around due to blackberry brambles, and that a bear was nearby but likely sought food, not Peter. She keeps tracking his path--steps show that he wandered in circles--and finally, Singing Bird points towards the bottom of a hill where a fallen log is. Inside, fast asleep, is Peter; Singing Bird wakes him, and Kirsten lets him know that Singing Bird found him and will take the two of them home.

Singing Bird initially does not want to approach the cabin after they return, but Kirsten--wanting to let Mama know that it was Singing Bird that found Peter--takes her hand and tries to lead her to the cabin. Singing Bird hesitates further, and Kirsten wonders if her own parents have warned her away from settlers cabins the way Kirsten has been warned away from Native villages. Kirsten says it will be all right and leads her to the cabin. Mama initially starts to scold Kirsten and asks if Singing Bird is the girl she was told not to play with, and Kirsten explains that Singing Bird is her friend and they weren't playing--it was with her help that Peter was found. When Peter confirms this, Mama thanks Singing Bird for her help and then invites Singing Bird to come eat bread and honey with them, returning the leather bag she took from Kirsten. Singing Bird shyly agrees to come in and have the snack.


  • The Magnetic Mini Worlds and paper dolls include Singing Bird, so she can be considered the best friend of Kirsten. However, no doll was ever and likely will not be produced. Initially this was likely due to controversy in the ways that Indigenous people are portrayed in Kirsten's original Central Series that would require sensitivity; now it is because Kirsten's collection and doll are retired and Best Friend dolls and collections are no longer produced for Historic Characters.