Book Bentos and Information Packaging

Book with Mardi Gras beads and hole punch, on green background

The above image is a  simplified book bento.  Inspired by the look of bento box lunches, a book bento shows a book artfully surrounded by images or objects related to it (Valenza, 2019).  When people share book bentos, they generally share why they chose the given objects/images.  For the book Glitter Bomb, by Laura Childs,  I have:

  • Mardi Gras beads (The story takes place in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.)
  • A hole punch (Our amateur detective runs a scrapbooking shop.)

The ACRL Framework discusses how information is packaged (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, p. 14 ).  For some K-12 students the bento could be an alternative to the traditional book report.  Learners still reflect on the book, but in a different form.

The Framework also discusses scholarly conversations and absences from them (ACRL, 2016, p. 20).  In my example the conversation is not scholarly, but gaps exist.  The story takes place in the more touristy part of New Orleans: How would Mardi Gras look in less privileged parts of the city?  The detective runs a small business: What are the challenges for small businesses?

The bento project itself raises similar questions.  Though these collages are a natural fit for people with visual arts skills, how can we adapt the project for the visually impaired or for those who lack graphics skills?   Students could list objects without images, or find images with alt text.  We could have grading rubrics that don’t privilege the visuals over the reflection.

Next time I’ll share a more official welcome back post.  In the meantime I wish you a safe and happy new seemster.



Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Chicago, IL: Author.

Valenza, J. (2019, May 4).  Building beautiful book bentos. Never Ending Search, SLJ.


Image Credit: Maureen Perry

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