American Girl dolls are ready for 2020. 

The Girl of the Year doll for 2020, unveiled on Dec. 31, will be the first with hearing loss. Her name is Joss Kendrick, and she’s a competitive, Southern California athlete who, according to her story, was born deaf in her left ear. 

The doll will come with a hearing aid as an accessory that helps her hear out of her right ear. 

Created in consultation with a team of experts in hearing loss, surfing, and competitive cheerleading, the new doll marks a broader shift in inclusion efforts at Mattel, the parent company of American Girl. 

American Girl debuts first Girl of the Year doll with hearing loss
American Girl debuts first Girl of the Year doll with hearing loss

With the doll’s debut, American Girl is donating $25,000 to educational programs at the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), a nonprofit that represents people with hearing loss. 

Starting on Jan. 1 through the end of 2020, American Girl stores across the country will also collect donations for HLAA.

“HLAA is proud to partner with American Girl to help girls know that, like Joss, they can be and do anything—an empowering message for girls with or without hearing loss,” Barbara Kelley, HLAA’s executive director, said in a statement on the nonprofit’s website. “I hope girls who read Joss’s inspiring story will help create awareness about hearing loss among their friends and family.” 

The Joss Kendrick American Girl doll becomes available in stores and online starting Dec. 31.


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