The American Girl Doll of the Year

Gabriela McBride American Girl Doll of The Year
Mattel / American Girl

Ever wondered about the difference between the American Girl Doll of the Year and other American Girl dolls?

American Girl dolls are beautiful 18-inch dolls, which are collected and played with by girls ages 8 and up. These dolls are a popular toy request during the holidays, birthdays and other special events. American Girl dolls are expensive, costing about $120 per doll. However, these dolls are collected and passed on from one generation to the next.

These special dolls can be bought online through the American Girl website, or by visiting one of the American Girl Place retail stores throughout the nation.

There are 3 main collections of American Girl dolls, the Girl of the Year dolls, the Truly Me dolls and the BeForever historical dolls. For girls who prefer baby dolls, there is also the Bitty Baby Doll Collection

Every year, beginning January 1st, the American Girl doll company releases a "Girl of the Year" doll. Like all other American Girl dolls, these dolls also arrive with a paperback chapter book, highlighting the doll's personal story and talents. 

While the Beforever dolls include girls that lived in another historical era, the Girl of the Year dolls have interests and experiences that young girls of today can identify with in their current day-to-day lives.

Girl of the Year dolls may only be available for the year they are released until they sell out.

In addition to the dolls, there are live-action movies, apps and special paid in-store events at American Girl Place locations. Girl of the Year characters are featured in special games, wallpaper, quizzes, crafts and e-cards for fans on the American Girl website. 

American Girl Dolls of the Year have included: Gabriela McBride (2017), Lea Clark (2016), Grace Thomas (2015), Isabelle (2014), Saige Copeland (2013), McKenna (2012), Kanani (2011), Lanie (2010), Chrissa (2009) and Mia (2008).

Aside from playing with dolls, girls who like to build may also enjoy playing with the American Girl doll construction toys. Featuring the Dolls of the Year, children can build Grace's 2-in-1 Dollhouse, Isabelle's dance studio, Saige's art studio, and McKenna's gymnastics routine step-by-step using small construction bricks.

The American Girl Doll brand, owned by Mattel, is very supportive of young girls. The company's mission is to teach children about diversity, instill values, promote creativity and encourage girls to be leaders who take action and solve problems.  

More than just playing with a toy doll and collecting outfits, American Girl character stories provide inspiration to little girls, offering motivation to dream big and make a difference in their lives, as well as others.

Here are some special tips when considering buying an American Girl Doll:

  • Many people complain about how expensive American Girl dolls can be, so they are often reserved as gifts for holidays and special occasions. Many have received their doll as a gift from a grandparent. 
  • Doll of the Year dolls can only be bought in American Girl stores, or from the American Girl website.
  • There are other less expensive American Girl doll options. While they do not include chapter books and the same unique stories. Adora, Madame Alexander, Our Generation from Target and Journey Girls from Toys "R" Us offer 18-inch collectible dolls that are not as costly.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.