As Valentine’s Day fast approaches, one’s thoughts would naturally turn to romantic love. However, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily just about romantic love, but all types of love as well.
An American Girl book that shows this is Changes for Samantha. The book opens only a few weeks away from Valentine’s Day in the year 1904 in New York City, as Samantha’s Aunt Cordelia suggests they make Valentines cards for their friends and family. Samantha wants to make one for her grandmother and her new grandfather, the Admiral. The two were recently wed after a long time fondness. Samantha also wants to make one for her best friend Nellie, a servant girl.
As Samantha is pondering what to make for her best friend, a letter from Nellie arrives bearing bad news. Her parents have died and Nellie and her sisters have to be sent to their uncle in New York City. Samantha resolves to find them and tracks them down to an orphanage, where they are not treated nicely.
The conflict of the book comes when Nellie finds out she will be separated from her sisters via the orphan train, which would send her out west to live with a strange family. So they plan an escape. To find out what happens, you’ll have to read the book (for sale at Girl AGain).
If I were writing a book report on Changes for Samantha I would say a running theme in the book is love. Love for friends, familial love and, yes, even romantic love. The love Samantha has for Nellie is strong, causing her to do reckless and even dangerous things to keep Nellie safe.
This has reflections on real life. I would go to the ends of the earth for my brother. My brother and I talk all the time about everything and nothing. We’d often stay up till one in the morning talking about things like the politics in Harry Potter. My brother went away to college and in the beginning he wouldn’t text me. A few weeks later I got a text, nothing earth shattering, something like, “I don’t like my Italian teacher.” No communication for a few weeks, then that? What was my response? “Why? Is the teacher too mean?” It was like we’d never stopped talking at all.
And, yes I am going to send my brother a valentine.
Mackenzie Heichel is a participant in Yes She Can’s job skills development program.
Here she is with Samantha and the original book, Changes for Samantha.