American Girl Wiki

Valerie Tripp is the most prolific author for American Girl.


Valerie Tripp was born in 1951 in Mt. Kisco, New York; she was the middle of five with two older sisters and one younger sister and brother.[1]. Tripp easily learned to read while playing school with her older sisters, and later taught her younger siblings, but was terrible at multiplication.[1]

She majored in Philosophy and graduated from Yale University (from the first year of co-ed classes) in 1973 with a Bachelors of Arts with honors; She initially worked with Little, Brown, and Co. publishing company; this was followed by working for Addison-Wesley textbook publishing, where she wrote songs, stories, and skills exercises for the elementary grade reading program. She later graduated from Harvard University with a Masters in Education in 1981 and developed educational programs for educational publishers such as Houghton Mifflin, Macmillan, and Harcourt.

She and Pleasant Rowland both worked as editorial staff at Addison-Wesley; she was first hired by Pleasant Rowland to write songs, stories, plays, nonfiction essays, and skills book pages for a reading program called "The Superkids."[2] Rowland later asked her to help with the launch of American Girl, and in 1983, she wrote the first outlines of the stories for Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha. She went on to write the Central Series books for Molly McIntire, selecting her of the first three because she felt that it would be more of a challenge to make the time period matter to readers.[3] She later took over for the last three of Samantha's books (after the first author did not return and the second was only employed for one book).

Tripp wrote all of Felicity, Josefina (Tripp's entire first draft of Meet Josefina was thrown out, forcing her to rewrite it[3]) and Kit's books, the last three Samantha books, several Historical Short Stories (including for American Girl Magazine); Josefina's mystery; the companion meet books for Nellie, Elizabeth, Emily, and Ruthie; Maryellen's central stories; and My Journey Books for Kit, Molly, and Maryellen. (She is thus credited in any collections, including Classic Volumes and Abridged versions.) She wrote all the books for the Hopscotch Hill School series and all the American Girl published books for the WellieWishers series. She also is the writer of the writer guides that came with the American Girl of Today Writing Books; the plays in the Theater Kits; and three American Girl Magazine Plays.

Several of the experiences that are written in the Historical Series are based on Tripp's own childhood experiences. Some examples include Samantha's adventures in New York City being based on Tripp's memories of family visits to the city to see Broadway plays and go to museums, as well as Felicity's adventures reflecting Tripp's fascination with colonial history and visiting Colonial Williamsburg with her family at age ten. Her experience of attending a concert at the Governor's Palace was the basis of Felicity's attendance at the Governor's Ball during the holiday season.[1] Tripp's mother inspired events of Kit's books, as her mother was the same age as Kit in 1932 and her father (Tripp's grandfather) lost his business due to the Great Depression. He died on Christmas when her mother was eleven years old; after this, her mother (Tripp's grandmother) took in boarders to earn extra money. Her mother did many of the same chores Kit does in her series. (This is stated in the special edition of Meet Kit.)

She received the Children's Choice Award from the International Reading Association in 1987 for Meet Molly: An American Girl.

Other books not related to American Girl include the Just One More series of children's books and the STEAM focused book series Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad for National Geographic.

She currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, Michael and has a daughter, Katherine (born c. 1988). Her hobbies and other interests include reading, hiking, and conversation.

American Girl Books[]

Historical Characters (including BeForever)[]

Felicity Merriman and Elizabeth Cole[]

Josefina Montoya[]

Samantha Parkington and Nellie O'Malley[]

Kit Kittredge and Ruthie Smithens[]

Molly McIntire and Emily Bennett[]

Maryellen Larkin[]

Plays for American Girl Magazine[]

Hopscotch Hill School Series[]

WellieWishers Series[]


Links and Biographical Citations[]