100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Everything You Need to Know to Make a Book Spine Poem

In This Book

April is here. April is National Poetry Month. April is the time for book spine centos. Give one a try. Or try it with your students/patrons.

Here are my tips for creating a book spine cento:

  1. Check out the book spine poem gallery for inspiration.
  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 (if available) to look up titles with specific words or phrases that fit.

Additional Resources:

What is a cento?

Sorted Books by Nina Katchadourian

National Poetry Month website

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. Dana Frank says

    This is great advice. I also recommend taking pictures of spines, cropping them, insert them into a document and rearranging them there. My library students do this on their iPads and come up with some great poems!