100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Be a Part of the 2014 Book Spine Poem Gallery

Amateur (and professional) poets of the world, lend me your ears!

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, weird people who just like stacking things – let’s kick off National Poetry Month in style. Create your own book spine poem (or have your students create some), snap a picture, and email it to me at scopenotes@gmail.com. On Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 I’ll post a gallery with all of the entries I receive, and I’ll add to it for the entire month of April.

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, send it my way, and see your work in these here pages on April 1st.

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. Kathleen Galarza says

    Yeah! I love book spine poetry! We will focus on that in Millville Schools Libraries and send you snapshots! Happy Library Month!