Virtual Pajama Party
We hosted a Virtual Pajama Party on Saturday, September 25, 2021. This online event for kids aged 8–12 and their families focused on Sylvia & Aki, an inspiring book based on a true story — and featured civil-rights activist and title character Sylvia Mendez, and acclaimed author Winifred Conkling!
Watch a recording of the pajama party and learn more about the program in the details below.
- We focused on themes of fairness, friendship, civil rights, and persisting through adversity.
- Participants read the book Sylvia & Aki in advance.
- Sylvia Mendez and Winifred Conkling participated live during the pajama party.
- Hands-on activities were provided in advance.
Pre-Program Hands-on Activities
These optional at-home activities were posted in the lead-up to our live program on September 25th. They make connections to the program themes, and include writing and art, historical documents, and visual sources. While the suggested age range for the pajama party was 8-12, younger siblings were invited to participate, and the activities support multi-age learning. Children were invited to share their works in advance, and these were featured during the program.
Activity 1: Friendship and Family
This activity invites children to create a museum exhibit based on a treasured item with a connection to their family or friends. Watch to learn more about the activity, and use the following links to view the historical sources shared in the video:
Activity 2: Persistence
This activity invites children to create a six-word story based on a historical source. Watch to learn more about the activity, and use the links below to see the historical sources.
- Photograph of Filling Mattresses at Poston War Relocation Center
- Photograph of School Children at Manzanar Relocation Center
- Testimony of Gonzalo Mendez in Mendez v. Westminster (note in particular lines 15-24 on the first page)
- Testimony of Felicitas Mendez in Mendez v. Westminster (note in particular lines 20-25 on the second page)
This online event focused on women's history in sports and the Olympics – and featured Olympic gold medalist and author Laurie Hernandez!
Participants read I Got This: To Gold and Beyond. The book, written by Hernandez, is a memoir of her life in gymnastics, training for the Olympics, and post-Olympic experiences. It emphasizes the importance of trying new things, setting goals, hard work, and persistence.
Hands-on activities were provided in advance:
Activity 1: Women and Girls in Sports
Choose an art or writing activity. Watch the video on YouTube to learn about the activities, and use the following links to view the historical photographs and film mentioned in the video:
- Girls at Isleta Day School in a Tug of War
- Girls Basketball Team
- Sports Celebrities Gathered for Bond Drive
- Jimmy Carter With Wilma Rudolph
- Billie Jean King and First Lady Betty Ford
- Althea Gibson Wins the US National Championships
Activity 2: Women and the Olympics
Watch the video, and use these links to view the historical photographs and letter shared in the video:
- President Reagan Welcoming Home the US Olympic Team
- Letter about the Olympic Games
- President Clinton Greets Mia Hamm
- President Nixon with the Soviet Gymnastics Team
- Michelle Kwan at Her Appointment as American Public Diplomacy Envoy
- President Reagan with Skater Peggy Fleming
Activity 3: Gymnastics
Watch the video, and use these links to view the historical photographs, film, and patent in the video:
- President Obama with the Olympic Women's Gymnastics Team
- Gymnastics in Zero-G
- First Lady Michelle Obama and Gymnast Nadia Comaneci
- President Reagan with Mary Lou Retton
- Patent Drawing for Toy Gymnasts
- President Obama with Gymnast McKayla Maroney
We hosted our first-ever Virtual Pajama Party on Saturday, October 17, 2020. We learned about Jackie Robinson, including his barrier-breaking career in baseball, but also his lifelong commitment to civil rights work through civic engagement and advocacy.
Participants read the historical fiction book The Hero Two Doors Down in advance. The book was written by children’s author Sharon Robinson, about a real episode in her father Jackie Robinson’s life. Ms. Robinson read a section of her book and answered audience questions.
Hands-on activities included:
Activity 1: Welcoming Strangers
Select art or writing activities surrounding ideas of welcoming others and feeling welcome or unwelcome. Watch the video on YouTube to learn about the activities, and use the following links to view the historical photographs shared in the video:
- Children at Ellis Island, ca. 1908
- Jackie Robinson with President Eisenhower at the White House, 1957
Activity 2: Heroes
Choose art or writing activities about heroes. Watch on YouTube, and access the historical photographs and comic book referenced in the video here:
- Jackie Robinson in his Brooklyn Dodgers Uniform, 1950
- "Children Gather to Welcome Home Their Daddies of the 369th Regiment" at the end of World War I
- Staff Sergeant Ermalinda Salazar at the St. Vincent de Paul Orphanage in Vietnam, 1970
- Batman, No. 90, Comic
Activity 3: Making Mistakes and Making Changes
Select art or writing activities about making mistakes and learning how to make better choices. Watch on YouTube. Use the following links to view the historical photographs and letter shared in the video:
- 1st Grade Class Buying War Bonds and Stamps, 1944
- Booker T. Washington Agricultural School on Wheels, 1923
- Letter from Jackie Robinson to President Eisenhower, 1958
Activity 4: Standing Up Against Discrimination
Activity 4 was shared during our live program with Ms. Sharon Robinson on October 17th, and featured the following National Archives documents: