Book Spine Poetry

Grade Level: 
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Universal Themes
This activity is a form of a found poem. Young people move around book titles to make a poem that makes sense and then snap a picture of the stacked book spines. Choosing favorite books from a personal or shared library forms the theme and structure of the poem.

Book Spine Poetry

Make a poem from the titles of books found in your library.

This activity may be done alone, in a small group, or even virtually in a group meeting. 

Working alone or together in small groups, participants create a poem out of book titles.  

If working in groups, have each person find one book in their home or library that they like. They work in small groups or assign breakout rooms in Zoom (or other meeting app) to combine book titles in an order to create a poem.  

Instructions for Participants

  1. Browse many, many books and choose one or two that spark your interest or that speak to your heart. What themes rise to the top?
  2. Find other book spines that complement your first choice. Don't edit yet; grab any spines that you think may work! Stop when you have 6-8 books.
  3. Start playing with combinations of spines, swapping and changing the order. Don't settle with your first try! Try putting your poems together like a puzzle and explore how changing the order changes the meaning of your poem. 
  4. Read your poem aloud to yourself and to a partner. When it sounds right, snap a photo of your completed poem.
  5. Share the photo with the larger group or send it to the facilitator who will make a slideshow of all of the book spine poems created.
  6. Reflect on the process and the meaning of the poem. Does the poem make a meaningful statement?

Alternatively, this may be modified using food packages from the kitchen or social media headlines or article titles.