Museum News

National Museum of African American History and Culture Announces Children’s Booklet Series and Weekly Children’s Programs

New Series and Weekly Children’s Programming Fosters a Positive Self Identity and Promotes Diversity and Inclusion With Early Learners and Infants

March 17, 2021
Family Day inspired by A is for All the Things You Are, April 10, 2019 Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Photographer: Jaclyn Nash

Inspired by its children’s book A Is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful ABC Book, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched a new activity booklet series designed for infants, toddlers and early learners. The Joyful ABC Activity Booklet series provides caregivers and educators with guides to support children’s positive identity development while also growing their language and literacy skills using interactive learning activities, museum objects and vocabulary based on characteristics featured in the book.

The booklet series centers black joy in childhood as an act of resistance and strength in the face of this past year’s unprecedented challenges. It includes two editions: one for infants and toddlers (ages birth to 3) and one for early learners (ages 3 to 5). Each Joyful ABC Activity Booklet provides early childhood caregivers and educators with:

  • Insight into children’s developmental stages
  • Age-appropriate play and art activities
  • Literacy and language development experiences
  • Opportunities to look closely at museum objects
  • Suggested books, videos, articles and other resources

Through July, four additional booklets will be made available for free download the first Monday of every month. Activity booklets for letters A–I are currently available to download for free on the Joyful ABC Activity Booklets webpage.

“Created through an anti-bias/anti-racist lens, these booklets support children’s growth into confident, compassionate, socially aware and inclusive individuals who embrace their uniqueness,” said Anna Forgerson Hindley, director of early childhood education at the museum. “The new booklets focus on empowering children to see themselves as multifaceted individuals, but use accessible and age-appropriate activities and museum-related objects to help kids develop their own sense of justice and understanding of others.”

In addition, the new interactive activity booklet series will be explored during the museum’s free weekly children’s art program, Joyful Fridays. Designed for children ages 4–8, Joyful Fridays’ museum educators will discuss featured museum objects and lead an art project inspired by the booklet themes released for the month while celebrating black joy, history and culture. The program takes place every Friday through July at 11 am ET. Registered participants receive a list of simple supplies needed, recommended books and links to related online resources. This information can also be found in the museum’s Joyful Fridays Learning Lab collection the first Monday each month. Participants can register for the free program on the NMAAHC Events Page. Past programs can be found on the museum’s UStream page.

NMAAHC’s Early Childhood Education Initiative works to support children’s joy in human diversity and inclusion and develop a child’s sense of justice and racial identity. The initiative educates children from birth to 8 years old by providing age-appropriate materials and resources for caregivers and educators to support children’s growth. The Early Childhood Education Initiative web page has more education and child development resources.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed over 7 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

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Media Contact(s): 

Cierra Jefferson (202) 633-7812;
Jermaine House (202) 633-9495;

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all.