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The Great 2020 Quarantine Book Spine Poem Challenge!

I received an email out of the blue yesterday . . .

Attached was Larry’s great book spine cento poem:

I first learned about book spine cento poems through artist Nina Katchadourian. I’ve celebrated them every National Poetry Month since.

But when I saw Larry’s poem, I realized something new: with everyone cooped up in their houses due to covid-19, this is the perfect time to give the book spine cento a try.

I immediately went to my shelves and whipped up this disgusting gem:

So here’s what I’m proposing:

The Great 2020 Quarantine Book Spine Poem Challenge!

  1. Make a book spine cento poem using the books inside your house.
  2. These tips might help.
  3. Take a picture.
  4. Send it to me: scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com.
  5. When April 1 hits (National Poetry Month), I’ll post a gallery, including your poem, for all to enjoy.
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. Kimberly King says:

    Neat idea!!! I shared on my facebook page:)

  2. Destinee says:

    This is a fun activity for sure. I feel for folks who don’t have many books at home, especially with most public libraries closed. An alternative way to make a poem is using the bibliocommons list feature. I made a poem with a bibliocommons list today just for fun: https://kcls.bibliocommons.com/list/share/220740577_librariandest/1609053396_books_titles_poem

  3. I just love reading these! Serendipity is responsible for so many good things . . . thanks for sharing. (We are fans of Ocean’s Eleven in this house, too. Great, fun film.)