“…the perfect place to open little minds to the wonderful world of poetry…”
– Mommy Nearest, April 20, 2016
The Constance Laibe Hays Children’s Room at Poets House provides opportunities for children to experience poetry and participate in creating poetry, art, music, and dance. Every object in the room is intended to promote thought and creative association. Children can also compose poetry or prose on old-fashioned manual typewriters (a huge favorite among the digital generation), or explore our wooden card catalog filled with objects and related poems to be used as writing prompts. In addition to poetry experiences for children age four to ten with acclaimed artists and poets, we offer Tiny Poets Time for toddlers. From the Bronx to Brownsville, thousands of children from more than 100 public schools have been introduced to poetry. Poets House serves more than 15,000 children annually.
Children, accompanied by adults, are welcome for self-guided experiences in the Children’s Room, a whimsical, light-filled space. Find:
- classic and contemporary poetry for children by such luminary authors as Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, Dr. Seuss, Bobbi Katz, Karla Kuskin, Langston Hughes, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, Douglas Florian, Sylvia Plath, Roald Dahl, William Blake, Lucille Clifton, Carl Sandburg, Willie Perdomo, and many more
- a canoe-shaped bookshelf
- vintage wooden school desks
- antique card catalog cases filled with different objects and poetry prompts
- manual typewriters
Past children’s programming highlights have included readings by celebrated poets, illustrators, and performers, including Matthea Harvey, Kurt Lamkin, Willie Perdomo, Marie Ponsot, and Charles Waters; movie screenings of timeless children’s classics; themed holiday workshops for Valentine’s Day and Halloween; visits to libraries, zoos, and Ellis Island; poetry-inspired craft sessions and activities, including kite-building and diorama-making; and much more.
Poem in Your Pocket Day
Poem in Your Pocket Day is a program of the Office of the Mayor in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education that is designed to showcase the talented faculty and student poets in higher education and the K-12 system, as well as to encourage New Yorkers to embrace literacy and poetry.
Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, Poets House takes part by handing out free poems on 3” x 5” cards in several public places in Lower Manhattan and offering a community open mic at Poets House, among other programs.