She surfs. She tries out for her school’s cheerleading squad. She’s been partially deaf since birth. The story of Joss Kendrick, the American Girl's 2020 Girl of the Year, is as complex as any real girl’s background, which is, of course, the point of the popular doll series.
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Last year, Blaire, the American Girl doll of the year 2019, worked her family’s sustainable farm and struggled to be sane with screentime. This year’s character is more athletic, timely as the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan will be the first to include the sport of surfing, expected to feature women athletes from countries such as the U.S., Australia, and Brazil.
In fact, one of the Team USA Olympic surfers, Caroline Marks, is the first-ever spokesperson for a Girl of the Year launch. Marks is only 17 herself, and the youngest woman to ever compete in a World Surf League event. (Watch her and be amazed.) While Joss the doll isn’t based on Caroline the teen, the fictional character and the real athlete share a similar competitive attitude, chasing their ambitions and going all in.
With the launch of Joss, American Girl also announced that the company will donate $25,000 to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), a national nonprofit that represents people with hearing loss.
The Joss doll is available online on December 31, 2019, at americangirl.com and in American Girl stores nationwide starting January 1, 2020. In addition to the book and doll, you can pick up accessories such as Joss’s service dog and her family’s camper van that is fully stocked for a day at the beach. Each doll-and-book set is $98 and recommended for ages 8 and up. The Joss books ($7.99 each) can also be purchased through booksellers.