American Girl’s 2020 Girl of the Year doll is a surfer and competitive cheerleader with hearing loss.
The 18-inch doll, named Joss Kendrick, has long brown hair and brown eyes and comes with a swimsuit, hoodie and shorts, plus a removable hearing aid in her right ear.
American Girl has long had hearing aids available for its Truly Me customizable 18-inch dolls that allow children to choose dolls that look like them, but Joss is the first American Girl character with a physical disability, according to the company.
Optional accessories include her English bulldog, Murph the Surf Dog. This spring, American Girl will offer Joss’s Volkswagen Surf Bus, which has a storage bench that folds into a bed, a pop-up stove, a foldout table, working headlights and sounds for the horn and ignition. An accompanying two-book series shows Joss growing up in Huntington Beach, California.
American Girl has teamed with 17-year-old surfer Caroline Marks, set to become a member of the first-ever U.S. Women’s Olympic surfing team, to launch the doll. “I’m so excited to be a part of the Joss launch and share her message that passion and hard work can really take a girl places — even to the Olympics,” Marks said in a news release. Girls can tune into a weekly online “Meet Joss” series on American Girls’ YouTube kids channel. A dedicated play site offers book excerpts, games and more.
American Girl is also donating $25,000 to support the Hearing Loss Association of America, a national nonprofit that offers awareness and education programming. And, through the end of 2020, the company will collect donations for HLAA at americangirl.com and at American Girl stores.
The Joss collection is available at americangirl.com and at all American Girl retail locations nationwide. The doll retails for $98 and the books are $7.99 each and can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers.