Poem in a Library Pocket

Put a Poem in Your Library

Put a Poem in Your Library

April is National Poetry Month and Library Month as well. Put the two together, and you have plenty of opportunities to celebrate both at once. The “Poem in a Pocket Library Challenge” is one way to get students interested in checking out a wide range of poetry books and finding the treasures hidden inside. The bulletin board in the elementary library at our school is now full of colorful pockets which hold pieces of poems.


The books from which these poems were plucked are lined up beneath the bulletin board. Students are challenged to read a pocket poem, find it in one of the books, grab a response slip and fill out the information: name, grade, poem number, book title and page on which the poem can be found. They then put their response slips in the poetry box.


At the end of the month, all of the correct slips are gathered together and a drawing is held. The winners get a free book, (compliments of the library), and they also win a free donut party for their whole class.

I even hid one of my own poems, (published in Cricket magazine), in there with the rest of some famous and some obscure poetry. So far, no one has found “Lost and Missing,” which I suppose is poetic justice. I wonder how many of these poems they will be able to track down. Some are hidden in poetry books of many, many pages. Others are nestled in short books of translated Japanese haiku verse.


The students have already started checking out poetry books and they are off on their poetry treasure hunt! It is always a treat to see such excitement in the library. Let me know what kinds of poetry activities you have planned for your library.

Put a Poem in Your Library

Put a Poem in Your Library

Pocket Poems

April is Poetry Month! Ironically enough, it is also Mathematics Awareness month and while I gravitate towards poetry I flee from mathematics. If I landed in Norton Juster’s “The Phantom Tollbooth,” I would undoubtedly side with the denizens of Dictionopolis and not the inhabitants of Digitopolis. I am probably not being fair, since poetry celebrates math in its rhythm and meter, but for me, anyways, April is Poetry Month.

Like many libraries around the world, we are using a “Poem in Your Pocket” theme to generate interest for poetry of all types. In the junior library, the bulletin board posts a challenge to young readers… read the “Pocket Poem” and find the book that contains the poem and indicate the page number. All entries will be put into a drawing at the end of the month for a prizes. (I usually give away books.)

The beautiful pockets were made by our head librarian who is an accomplished seamstress. We selected some of the poems to match the material pattern of the pockets. The pattern that included buses and crossroads and maps ended up holding Robert Frost’s “Road Less Traveled” in the junior library and “Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay in the high school library. A pocket whose patterns is populated with owls holds “The Owl and the Pussycat” and Joyce Sidman’s “Dark Emperor.”

We have collected poem suggestions and even original poems from school staff members. All library patrons are encouraged to “pick a pocket” and take one of the many poems home with them.

As patrons pocket our poems, we will add new ones. Here in Tokyo, as the sakura petals pile in drifts on the ground, it does seem very appropriate for April to be Poetry Month.

It’s hard not to stop and stare at the spectacle of falling pink snow. Perhaps that is why April is also officially “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”