100 Scope Notes
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Coming Soon: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. And around this neck of the woods the poetry form of choice is the book spine cento. What’s a cento?

Check out the 2014 Book Spine Poem Gallery to find out.

Or take a look at the work of Nina Katchadourian.

Students, teachers, librarians, book lovers, odd ducks who enjoy piling things up – let’s kick off National Poetry Month in style. Create your own book spine poem.

Here are my tips for creating a book spine cento:

  1. Check out last year’s book spine poem gallery for inspiration (see link above).
  2. Get to a place with plenty of books. A library works nicely. Or a large home collection.
  3. Start looking at titles, and see what strikes you. Arrange and rearrange in your head. The best part of this type of poetry is the fact that you don’t know where you’ll end up.
  4. Have a pencil and paper with you to write down titles that stand out – you can refer back to them later.
  5. Don’t be afraid to use the library catalog to look up titles with specific words or phrases that fit.

Give it a try, friends, I think you’ll be happy you did.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. What a wonderful idea! My children loved it :)