Mattel recently announced the American Girl 2020 Girl of the Year—and this year, the doll is the first doll with hearing loss to receive the title!

So who is the 2020 Girl of the Year? The American Girl doll is Joss Kendrick and according to Mattel she is, “A  fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheer.”

Not only does Joss surf and cheer but she’s also an inspiration, encouraging girls to try new things, act as a team player and break stereotypes. To create this very special doll, American Girl teamed up with 17-year-old surf prodigy (and soon-to-be Olympic athlete) Caroline Marks, Women’s Deaf Shortboard champion Crystal DaSaliva, owners of Fury Athletics, Sara Jo Moen and Julie Peterson, Professor of English at Gallaudet University and a specialist in portrayals of deaf characters in adolescent literature Dr. Sharon Pajka, Ph.D., educational audiologist Jennifer Richardson, Au.D. and professional big wave surfer and co-founder of the Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing, Bianca Valenti.

Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl, said in a press release, “American Girl has a rich legacy of creating timeless characters who encourage girls to reach for new heights and discover who they’re meant to be.” Cygielman continued, “We’re proud to welcome Joss Kendrick, whose stories are sure to instill confidence and character in girls who are learning to think about the possibilities in their own lives. Working with Olympic hopeful surfer Caroline Marks adds real-world inspiration about what can happen when you go ‘all in’ on your dreams.”

American Girl is partnering with the Hearing Loss Association of America in honor of Joss. The collab will include a $25,000 donation from American Girl to HLAA and support for the organization’s 2020 Walk4Hearing.

Joss is available in all American Girl retail locations and online at americangirl.com starting Dec. 31, 2019, for $98 (the price includes one Joss book too). You can also purchase the Joss-themed books from American Girl for $7.99 each. The doll comes with a swimsuit, hoodie, shorts and a removable hearing aid. Additional Joss products, such as a cheer backpack, competition shoes, slides and her English Bulldog, Murf the Surf Dog are also available. Look for a brand-new Volkswagen Surf Bus to go along with Joss next spring!

—Erica Loop

Photos: Courtesy of Mattel

 

 

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