Parents' Guide to

An American Girl Story -- Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Chinese-American tween embraces heritage in sweet story.

An American Girl Story -- Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance Poster Image

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This thoughtful movie brings the timely matter of immigration into new focus that's refreshing, nonjudgmental, and perfect for families. Ivy struggles to reconcile her American identity with her Chinese heritage, and in so doing she's an honest example of assimilation as it's experienced by the children of immigrants. The story does an excellent job presenting different sides of the issue, from Ivy's heartfelt conversation with her grandparents about their immigrant experience to her parents' ties to their Chinese heritage in American society. And then there's Julie, who reminds Ivy that even without cultural complications, there's no such thing as the "perfect" American existence.

As an American Girl production, Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance has considerable commercial tie-ins that will appeal mostly to girls already aware of the brand in general and these characters in particular, but nothing in the movie raises the connection on its own. What it does offer is affirming family entertainment that can inspire conversations about growing up, making priorities, and following your dreams, as well as the importance of family.

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