"...and touch the universal heart."
Happy Birthday, Mr. Riley

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Riley visited the Indianapolis public schools and read his poetry. In 1911 the school children of Indiana and New York began to celebrate Riley's birthday by participating in special readings and events. By 1912 students everywhere had taken up the observance. Indianapolis children marched by the Poet's Lockerbie Street home and photographs were taken sitting on Mr. Riley's knee. Children composed and sent birthday letters, often enclosing poems and occasionally photographs. The letters are full of the youthful vigor so evident in Riley's poetry. They reveal the poems most loved by children-"The Raggedy Man," "Little Orphant Annie," "The Bear Story" and "When the Frost is on the Punkin"-and the adoration they held for the man who was truly the Children's Poet.