Studied at Moscow Theatrical School.
She read her poetry at the graduation ceremony from the ballet school. Among the guests was the Minister of Education Anatoly Lunacharsky who remarked that instead of becoming a ballerina she should be a professional poet. According to legend, despite the fact that all of Barto's poetry at that time was about love and revolution, Lunacharsky predicted that she would become a famous children's poet.
Agniya married Italian-Russian electrical engineer and poet Pavel Barto. In 1925 she published her first books: Chinese boy Wan-Lin (Китайчонок Ван-Линь) and Mishka the Petty Thief (Мишка-Воришка). After publishing a book of poetic miniatures for toddlers entitled Toys (Игрушки) in 1936, she suddenly became one of the most popular children's authors, with millions of published copies.
During World War II. she wrote patriotic anti-Nazi poetry, often directly addressed to the leader of the Soviet people, Joseph Stalin. She also worked as a Western Front correspondent for the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. In 1949, she was awarded the Stalin Prize for her book Poetry for Children.
During the 1960s, Barto worked in an orphanage that inspired her to write the poem Zvenigorod (Звенигород, written in 1947, first published in 1966). For nine years, Barto was the anchor of the radio program Find a Person (Найти человека), which helped people find family members lost during World War II. During that time she helped to reunite no fewer than a thousand families. She wrote a book about it in 1966.
In 1977, she published Translations from the Children's Language (Переводы с детского) composed of her translations of poetry written by children of different countries. She was the author of the script for the children's films Foundling (Подкидыш, 1940), An Elephant and a Rope (Слон и верёвочка) 1945, Alyosha Ptitsyn builds his character (Алёша Птицын вырабатывает характер), 1953, 10,000 Boys (10 000 мальчиков), 1962, Find a Person (Найти человека), 1973.
USSR Union of Writers.