Have you heard?
There is a new girl on the block in American Girl land! Last month, Joss Kendrick joined the American Girl family as the 2020 Girl of the Year and Jemma and I think she is just grand!
Joss is a California girl, and naturally, in love with surfing. In her story, she wants to enter a surfing video contest but needs her brother’s help. As a dare, her brother says he will help, but only if Joss tries out for the cheer team. Problem is, Joss is hearing impaired and keeping count with the cheers is somewhat of an obstacle.
But Joss chooses to fly high and defy limits.
And she falls in love with cheer, almost as much as she loves surfing!
Jemma loved Joss’ story, especially that playful sister/brother dynamic. This week we’re off to our local American Girl store so Jem can buy the second Joss book and learn more about dedication, team work, and juggling multiple interests through Joss’ experience.
As with each Girl of the Year, American Girl devoted so much research in fully developing Joss’ character. A number of surfing experts and members of the deaf community were consulted in order to get things just right. It is so apparent that American Girl is more than just stories and dolls, they’re truly creating role models.
A dear friend of mine, Sophia Nunez, has a daughter with hearing loss and she was absolutely delighted when Joss debuted. I asked her why featuring a doll with hearing aids was so important and she said, “As a mom of a child with hearing loss, I know it’s not ‘common’ or ‘average’ to be hard of hearing. I would never hope that every doll has hearing aids … but for [my daughter] to see a large selection of dolls, and the one with hearing aids standing right there along side [the others] sends a message that there is nothing wrong about being hard of hearing. It’s powerful for her to see that her hearing loss doesn’t disqualify her from being shoulder to shoulder with other children.” Isn’t that such a beautiful visual? Dolls with all kinds of differences shoulder to shoulder just like our real life girls – praising their differences and supporting one another through challenges.
To bring Joss and her story alive Jemma spent a recent rest time merging a number of her craft supplies and the latest American Girl catalog. Isn’t this surfing scene fun?
With a blank poster board as her base, Jemma collaged an ocean wave for Joss to ride straight into cheer practice. She splattered acrylic paint to resemble ocean spray and, of course, added a little glitter-infused paint to represent the California sunshine shimmering on the water.
While Jem crafted we visited quite a bit about her hobbies and how she devotes time and energy to each. Although she isn’t balancing surfing and cheer, she does like to equally invest in her passion for writing, baking, and exploring the outdoors. Lately she has expressed interest in becoming a park ranger. It will be so fun to see how she entertains that trajectory.
We agreed that it’s impossible to do everything, but, like Joss, we have the capacity to try and succeed at a lot! And I just love that go-getter attitude!
American Girl, thank you for another amazing role model for our today’s generation of young women. Joss is a gem!
A special thank you to American Girl for gifting Joss to Jemma. We were so excited to review the 2020 Girl of the Year!