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Constance Laibe Hays Youth Center


“…the perfect place to open little minds to the wonderful world of poetry…”
Mommy Nearest, April 20, 2016

Poets House’s annual children’s anthology is one of the most anticipated events in our calendar. Students from seven classes at local public schools PS 1, PS 89, and PS 276 spend February and March writing poems and creating art in response to a chosen theme. In 2020, our theme was “paths.”

Check out Virtual Tiny Poets Time, a free video series presented daily at 9am. Charles Waters performs favorite books, poems and sing-alongs to get little minds thinking and little feet moving, using rhyme and rhythm to make poetry accessible to even the youngest budding poets. Tiny Poets Time is for toddlers and young poets to enjoy the fun of language. Click the banner below to discover wonderful children’s content:

Poem in Your Pocket Day is a national initiative that aims to share the joy and community of poetry by inspiring people to read and carry a poem with them throughout the day. Traditionally, Poets House has shared printed cards, featuring children’s poems from our work with local schools, together with poems by well-known poets. This year, we invite you to print your own Poem in Your Pocket card.

Print a poem for your pocket!

Children's Room Hours

Temporarily closed due to Covid-19

Thursday–Saturday, 11:00am–5:00pm

Tiny Poets Time, songs and poetry readings for toddlers: Thursdays starting at 10:00am

Free class visits by appointment

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

Young poets celebrate their publication


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. Find 2019 and 2018 cards here to download and print at home!