American Girl 2020 Girl of the Year

American Girl 2020 Girl of the Year

American Girl unveiled its 2020 Girl of the Year: Joss Kendrick — a fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheering.

In developing the doll and its story, American Girl worked closely with a team of experts specializing in surfing, competitive cheerleading, and hearing loss. Kendrick’s launch is accompanied by a collaboration with 17-year-old surfing prodigy Caroline Marks, who is making history as a member of the first-ever U.S. Women’s Olympic surfing team.

Joss is an 18-inch doll with long brown hair and brown eyes. She arrives wearing a swimsuit, a hoodie, and shorts, plus a removable hearing aid in her right ear.

Additional accessories and products in the line include a surfboard and swim gear, cheer outfits and equipment — including a cheer backpack, slides, and competition shoes in partnership with Nfinity — and her English bulldog, Murph the Surf Dog.

American Girl 2020 Girl of the Year

This spring will see the release of her Volkswagen Surf Bus, which features multiple play features and accessories in addition to working headlights, turn signals, windshield wipers, and radio, plus sounds for the horn and ignition.

American Girl 2020 Book Series

A two-book series from author Erin Falligant will explore Kendrick’s story as she grows up in Huntington Beach, California, also known as “Surf City U.S.A.”

“When the surf’s up, Joss loves to catch the waves any chance she can get. When she accepts her brother’s dare to try out for the competitive cheer team, Joss figures it’ll be easy. But instead of pom-poms and chants, Joss is surprised to see daring pyramids, flips, and jumps, and realizes the first rule of surfing — give respect to get respect — applies in the gym as well. By going all in with cheer, Joss reaches new heights and discovers a whole new side of herself.”

The doll, books, and related accessories go on sale on Jan. 1 exclusively at American Girl retail locations in the U.S., along with American Girl specialty boutiques in select Indigo and Chapters locations in Canada.

To coincide with the doll launch, American Girl contributed a $25,000 donation to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) in support of the organization’s education and awareness programs. Additionally, American Girl is supporting HLAA’s 2020 Walk4Hearing and will collect donations for HLAA at and at American Girl stores nationwide throughout 2020.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.