Poems Are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater [Poetry Friday]

Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)

Today is the National Day on Writing, and what better day to share Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s new book for teachers, Poems Are Teachers? This amazing book features 50+ poems by different poets (some of whom are part of the Poetry Friday community) and more than 100 poems by kids, all accompanied by wise and encouraging ideas and lessons from Amy on using those poems as mentor texts for all kinds of writing. I think this is a fantastic book not just for teachers but for writers as well. I’m looking forward to reading through the entire book. Meanwhile, here’s the poem I wrote for this.

Tree House

You are planks and nails, walls and floor
Nothing more, some say
I say no way

You are my tree house
My waiting for me house
My crow’s nest over the Baltic Sea house

You are whatever I need you to be, house
My nobody knows where I am—I’m free house
My “Let’s have a tea party, just you and me” house
My “OK, squeeze in, but just us three” house

You are my come in, no need for a key house
My rocket-fueled racecar to win the Grand Prix house
My prairie as far as my eyes can see house
My drowsy laze to the buzz of a bee house

You are planks and nails,
walls and floor,
but so much
my house that is me

–Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

 And for today’s Poetry Friday Roundup, visit with teacher Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life, where she’s sharing a wonderful Naomi Shihab Nye poem in a thoughtful post.











18 Responses

  1. This book looks so incredible. I cannot WAIT to get my hands on it. And, I will use it as a teacher…but also as a writer. Thanks so much for sharing your poem. “Waiting for me” “Don’t need a key.” Oh, I wish I could give so many kids the experience of this. What a poem to dream on.

  2. What an amazing book! And truly, it’s not because I have a poem in it. It’s such a cool way to get kids going on writing poetry! Also, great poem. I love the series of cool, surprising ways you rhyme the lines. A touch of Ogden Nash there!

  3. “You are my come in, no need for a key house”

    zings directly into my heartstrings, Laura.

    And I love how the last lines circle back.


  4. Perfect for all the things a child imagines what a treehouse can become. Amazon says my copy of POEMS ARE TEACHERS will arrive tomorrow. I can’t wait!

  5. I am so excited to be able to see so many glimpses into this book today as poets share their contributions. I’m no longer teaching, but I do think I still want a copy for me to learn from. It looks amazing–such a rich resource.

  6. Your poem is lovely, Laura. It would be terrific to see what students, or children in general, share after they hear/read your poem. I think there will be lots of sharing, maybe lots of dreaming!

  7. I love your tree house! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

  8. A treehouse is such the catalyst for the imagination. We had more of a tree “platform” than a house — no walls! But it still became so much more, just as you have written here. And I can’t wait to get Amy’s new book, especially after reading so much about it this weekend.

    1. Ours was totally a platform! Up high above our trampoline and enclosed only by tree branches :>)

  9. This book is such a wonderful resource as well as a labor of pure poetry love. I feel such a connection because I know so many of the poets, like you, and have student poems included. I walk by a tree house every day and have been wanting to write a poem about it. Your poem captures the feeling of childhood so well.

  10. Amy’s book is a treasure, as is your poem, Laura. I never had a tree house, but loved climbing trees. Even without the “planks and nails, walls and floor” I had a special tree that was “my nobody knows where I am—I’m free house.”

  11. I love all the alliteration in your poem laura along with the refraining house closing each line, they both move us rhythmically through your poem, lovely “Tree House” thanks!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,522 other subscribers

Are You Looking For?

Poetry Friday posts

Classroom Connections posts

All my poetryactions

Go to my Poetry page for:

  • National Poetry Month projects through the years
  • Small Reads Roundups (poems grouped by topic)
  • Introductions to several favorite poetry forms
#waterpoemproject15 Words or Less Poems20for2030 Painless Classroom Poems50 State Poemsacrosticsactivity pagesactivity sheetALAA Leaf Can Be...Amy Ludwig VanDerwaterA Need to FeedanthologiesanthologyA Rock Can Be...art projectsaudiopoemsawardsbad newsBarbara Juster EsbensenBilly Collinsbiopoemsblog tourbookalikesbook festivalsBookSpeak!book spine poemsbook trailersbop poembyr a thoddaidcafepresscalendar poemsCamp Read-a-LotCan Be... bookscan be... poemsCapstoneCarol Varsalonacascade poemsCatherine FlynnccbcCCRA.W.3CCRA.W.4CCRA.W.5centoschapter bookschoral compositionschristina rossetticinquainsCLAclassified ad poemsclassroom connectionclassroom connectionsClover Kittyconferences and conventionscrown sonnetscybilsdansaDare to DreamDavid Elliottdeeper wisdom poemdefinitosdiamantesdiversitydizaindodoitsuDot DayDouglas Floriandownloadablesdrum corpse.e. cummingsekphrastic poemsepistolary poemsequation poemsessentialethereeseventsexquisite corpseFairy Tale Garage Salefamilyfibonaccifiction picture booksfinding familyfirefightersforeign editionsfound poemsfree author zoomsfree versefrom studentsgeesegeorgia heardghazalGift Taggiveawaygolden shovelgoldilocksgratitudehaikuheart of aheart of a teacherHeidi MordhorstHelen FrostHighlightshow-to poemshow to make a rainbowI Am FromI Am poemsidiomsif you want to knit some mittensIf You Were the MoonILAimagepoemsinterviewin the middle of the nightIRAIrelandIrene LathamJ. Patrick LewisJanet WongJoyce SidmanKendraKerlanKidlit Comboslailaura's board booksLaura's booksLaura's poemsLaura's readingsLaura ShovanLee Bennett HopkinsLilian MoorelimericksLinda Booth SweeneyLine Leads the WayLion of the Skylist poemslittle free librarylive writingLullaby and Kisses Sweetlyricsmadness poetrymargaret simonMarilyn Singermary lee hahnmask poemsMeet My FamilyMelissa StewartMentors for Rentmentor textsmetaphorMichelle Myers LacknerMillbrookMinnesota Book Awardsmoneymoonmy reading lifemy writing processN+7naaninarrative poemsNational Poetry Month 2012 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2014 (riddle-ku)National Poetry Month 2015National Poetry Month 2016National Poetry Month 2017 (#wonderbreak)national poetry month 2018 (haiku a day)National Poetry Month 2020National Poetry Month 2021 (#EquationPoem)national poetry month 2022 (sticky-note poems)National Poetry Month 2023 (Digging for Poems)National Poetry Month 2024 (magnipoems)ncteNerdy Book Clubnifty newsnifty stuffNikki Grimesnonfictionnonfiction booksNonfiction Writers Dig Deepnovelsnovels in verseodesOne Minute Till BedtimeoppositifyOskar's VoyagepadletpantoumsparodiesPatreonpeacepersonalpet poemsphotopoetryphrase acrosticspicture booksplagiarismpoempicspoemspoems for two voicespoemsketchpoetic pursuitsPoetry 7poetryactionspoetry activitiesPoetry Blastpoetry booksPoetry FridayPoetry Friday AnthologiesPoetry Princessespoetry promptspoetry sistersPoetry Tips for Teachersprogressive poempublishing processpuddle songPutridquotationsraccontinosRandy Salasread-aloudreadaloudreading poetry in the classroomRebecca Kai Dotlichrecipe poemsrefugeesresearchreview copiesreviewsrevisionrhyming booksrhyming nonfictionrhyming picture booksRhyming Picture Books the Write Wayrhyming poemsRiddle-kuriddle poemsRock Can Be...Rock the Blogrondeau redoublesRudyard Kiplingsalas snippetsSCBWIschool visitsScotlandseasonssecrets of the loonSELsestinasshrinking daysskinnyskypeslice of lifesmall readssnack snooze skedaddlesnowman-coldsonnetsStampede!storm poemstorytimestorywalkstudent poemsstudent workSylvia VardellTanita Davistankatautogramteachableteacher resourcesteen/adult poemsterza rimasthankfulthank yous and referencesthe business sidethings to do iftracy nelson maurertrioletstunie munson-bensonvideosVikram MadanvillanellevillanellesWater Can Be...wealthy elementaryWe BelongWhat's InsideWhy-kuwinterwonderwonderbreakword of the yearwordplaywordsmithswork for hirewritingwriting bookswriting processwriting promptswriting the life poeticyoung authors conferencesYouTubeZapZap Clap Boomzenozentangle
Show More Show Less

Discover more from Laura Purdie Salas

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Join Laura's monthly newsletter for eductators

Get three of Laura's favorite poetry activities when you subscribe to "Small Reads."