Sunday, December 11, 2011

Goodbye From Mrs. Overlid

It was such a joy working with Cragmont students last year but unfortunately, I will not be returning to the school library after the new year as intended. I will still be a librarian, but instead of being at Cragmont, I will be the children's librarian nearby at the Kensington and San Pablo libraries with Contra Costa County.

I will let teachers know about special library events and hope some families will come visit me on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays when I am up Arlington at the Kensington Library or on Mondays, Wednesdays and some Fridays at the San Pablo branch.

I had a wonderful time reading and sharing stories with Cragmont students and will miss everyone dearly!

Happy reading!

-Mrs. Overlid

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Children and E-Books

Children are learning to be more cyber savvy every day, see how traditional literacy and new technologies collide! An SFGate parent blogger recently wrote a piece about children's e-books and how interactive interfaces may impact reading experiences and expectations. For example, in the ipad version of Harold and the Purple Crayon, kids can swipe a finger across the screen and purple marks appear like magic; do paper pages seem boring after such fun?

Before you decide, play around with children's e-books using your local public library! Several library systems, including Alameda County Public Library and Contra Costa Library, have children's e-books you can "checkout" for your e-book reader.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Be a Scholastic News Kid!

Scholastic is looking for a new batch of kid reporters aged 10-14 for their Kids Press Corps! If you are a curious kid who is always looking around for interesting things in your community, this could be a job for you! Kid reporters write about news, events, interviews and interesting goings-on in their communities. Articles are posted online as well as in the print run of Scholastic News, often read in classrooms all over the country.

The deadline for applications is October 11, 2011. The complete details and formal application can be found here:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Read-Alikes

With the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever due out in November 2011, we have a couple months before we get to read the next adventures, or miss-adventures, of Gred Heffley. What should we read in the meantime? School Library Journal just came out with a fabulous list of Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alikes, including graphic novels! Some of these titles, like Smile and Spaceheadz are already favorites at Cragmont but there are several more on the list that are worth looking for at your local public library. And one extra one that didn't make the list but is sure to draw in readers: Squish, Super Amoeba by Jennifer Holm, author of the Babymouse series.

Check out the complete list of recommended reading here:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have a Wonderful Summer!

School is out and as of June 21st, the summer has officially begun! I hope everyone has a fun and safe summer!

Don't forget to keep reading! Reading is just like any other skill and new readers need their practice! Berkeley Public Library is offering a fantastic summer reading program perfect for Cragmont kids! Check out the details at your local branch or online here. Remember, the North and Claremont Branches are closed for renovation but this gives you a great excuse to explore other locations like the South Branch on MLK and Russell where you can borrow a hammer with your book at the tool lending library!

There are also other library systems in the area doing similar summer events:
-Alameda County Library's Summer Reading Game:
-Contra Costa County's Summer Reading Program:
-Oakland Public Library Summer Reading Program:

Here are some other things to keep you busy this summer:
-write postcards to family and friends, or even to the Berkeley Public Library Librarians!
-keep a journal or a travel log if you go on trips
-check out the website where Diary of a Wimpy Kid began:
-bookmark some new favorite websites: American Library Association's recommendations of Great Websites for Kids

It has been a wonderful year at Cragmont Library! I won't be there in the fall because I am expecting our first baby around September 2nd. I will miss everyone very much though and promise to send pictures!

Happy Reading!

-Mrs. Overlid

Sunday, June 12, 2011

End of Year at Cragmont Library

Only one more week of school, can you believe it? It has been a very successful year here at the Cragmont Library, we have read a ton of books, heard lots of stories and learned a lot about how the library works!

If you find any Cragmont Library books at home, please send them back to school as soon as possible because we are trying to inventory our collection to see what books we have and what books we will need for the future.

If your student has lost a book, here are the best options:

1) replace the exact same book
2) pay for the lost books (checks should be made out to "BPEF: Cragmont Library")

If these two options are financially not available, students can:

3) bring a nice book from home that is similar to the lost book (i.e. if you lost a Spanish chapter book, please bring in a nice Spanish chapter book)
4) come help me in the library for some of your recesses.

Thanks for helping to make it a great year for Cragmont Library!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Finding New Kids Books!

While classics never go out of style, new books are always fun, but how do you know what is good?

Finding reviews of new children's books can sometimes be overwhelming so here is a neat article outlining blogs, professional review site and other online resources for new children's books!

I am personally a big fan of Fuse 8 (written by a NY Public Library Librarian) and anything on School Library Journal's review area.

Start your summer reading booklist today!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baseball books!

Baseball season is starting strong after a historical 2010 World Series win by the Giants last year! Why not bring the park home with some great baseball books? Baseball has a lot of history and lends itself to picture books and biographies. Here are some of Cragmont's favorites that we read last November and this past week:

Casey at the Bat: A Battle of the Republic Sung in 1888 by Ernest L. Thayer and Christopher Bing. Though there are several versions of this classic poem, this is definitely my favorite. It uses old-time newspaper clippings and shows classic players in their original garb (think fantastic mustaches and baggy uniforms). 4th and 5th graders heard this version last November and many made connections to baseball today (like a little league team named the Mudville Nine). When sharing, take the time to explain the lyrical language like "melancholy" and "leather-covered sphere." And one last tip, when you get to the final page, hide the picture until you read the last line and really relish the reaction!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game by Jack Norworth and Jim Burke Again, though there are many picture book versions of this song, this is the best because it includes the whole song, starting with "Katie Casey was baseball mad, had the fever and had it bad..." and gives tons of history. Did you know that Jack Norworth wrote the famous tune on his way to a New York Giants Game? While reading/singing, take a moment to define some of the antiquated language, like "sou" and "beau." Here is an online version of the original to get you ready for the 7th inning stretch: (caution: this is a youtube link so be careful where you link after listening)

Hey Batta Batta Swing! by Sally Cook Chalk full of history that makes you say "no way!" this book is a fantastic look at the history of baseball's rules and practices. It uses old-timey slang and stories to explain the origins of the game in an approachable way. Also great for adults or the coffee table!

Roberto Clemente Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates by Jonah Winter I shared this picture book biography with most grades this week. It tells the incredible true story of Roberto Clemente, the amazing baseball player and man who was the first Latino ever inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. From Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente broke records and played with a fire that was undeniable. He died tragically in 1972 while delivery supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake and was voted into the Hall of Fame only a year later due to his great spirit and baseball legacy.

Mighty Jackie The Strikeout Queen by Marissa Moss This is a wonderful picture book biography of Jackie Mitchell, the female picture who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in 1931. Cragmont first graders heard this story during Women's History Month in March and we talked a little about Title IX and the history of women in sports. Whether or not you are looking for academic connections, the action and illustrations in this title are great fun to share.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson Best for older readers due to the amount of text, this oversized picture book tells the rich history of the Negro League. Nelson's realistic illustrations look so much like photographs that you will have to look twice. This is another book that is fantastic for young and old readers alike.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Belated Pictures from Author Visit

Author Gennifer Choldenko visited with Cragmont 4th and 5th graders in back in April. She talked about her writing process, her family and of course, Alcatraz!

Here are some pictures of her visit that really show the enthusiasm of her and our students with all of their questions!

If you are looking for some great summer reading, pick up Ms. Choldenko's books Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes and No Passengers Beyond This Point!

Ms. Choldenko and her audience.

Ms. Choldenko illustrating a writing tip: re-writing!

Cragmont Bookfair at Barnes and Noble, El Cerrito

This Saturday, May 28th, Barnes and Noble bookstore at 6050 El Cerrito Plaza is having a bookfair for Cragmont Elementary School!

When customers mention the Cragmont bookfair, the school will get a percentage of their purchase, including visits to the store cafe. The store will have teacher wishlists on display if you would like to give a book to a classroom library. Online purchases made from May 28-May 30 can also help, just go to and use the code 104-82-800 at checkout! Librarian Jackie Overlid (me!) will be at the store on Saturday at 6:30pm to read stories aloud! Please come join us in supporting Berkeley students and reading!

Purchases of coffee count too so if nothing else, come by and get a nice hot chocolate and listen to a story at 6:30pm!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Contest!

Author Jeff Kinney is challenging young comic book artists: are you funnier than Greg Heffley?

Just create a one page comic and send it in by June 10, 2011!

Click here for all the fun details:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

4th and 5th Grade Author Visit!

Newbery Honor Author Gennifer Choldenko is coming to Cragmont!

On Wednesday April 13th from 11-12, award winning author of Al Capone Does My Shirts, Al Capone Shines My Shoes and the branch new title No Passengers Beyond This Point will be coming to Cragmont to Speak to the 4th and 5th grade classes!

Spring Break is a great time to get some reading done! If you are interested in purchasing a copy of any of Ms. Choldenko's books for her to sign, visit Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore ate 2904 College Avenue, Berkeley CA 94705 510-704-8222. Call or email Mrs. Overlid if you have any questions! 510-644-8810

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Read Any Good Movies Lately?

Children's books are always a fabulous source of material for filmmakers. Here is some news about upcoming films and future productions made from books plus some classics that you may have forgotten started on the bookshelf! If you watch any of these movies with your student, take a moment to read the book first and then have an interesting compare/contrast review afterward!

Current Films
Mars Needs Moms by Berkeley Breathed: 1st and 2nd graders are reading all of the California Young Reader Medal nominees right now and one of them, Pete and Pickles, is also by author Berkeley Breathed, known for his long-running newspaper comic "Bloom County." The movie "Mars Needs Moms" is in theaters now so head to the Berkeley Public Library before standing in line for tickets!

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
: Published in 1978, this book has yet to go out of style and even has a lesser known sequel, Pickles To Pittsburgh. Though the movie, released in 2009, followed a different plot, the enormous food remained the star. What was your favorite oversized meal? Mine was definitely the school-sized pancakes! This is a fun movie/book pair for discussions of similarities and differences.

Where the Wild Things Are by Murice Sendak: How can a ten sentence picture book be transformed to a 104 minute live-action film? Ask acclaimed indie director Spike Jonez and quirky screenwriter Dave Eggers. Though the film, 2009, was met with mixed reviews, the original book is a staple at bedsides everywhere.

Future Films
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater: Mr. Popper's Penguins is a Newbery Honor winning book from 1939 but still flies from the library shelves on a regular basis. It is a silly story of a man who suddenly comes into ownership of several penguins and hilarity ensues. The film version is set to some out this summer starring none other than goofball Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper himself. Gear up for summer and share this book as a bedtime chapter book readaloud!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: This Caldecott winning chapter book clearly lends itself to the screen. Pages of illustrations coupled with rich text tell the story of a young boy who lives in the walls of a Paris train station and his quest to find out the truth of his father's life. On schedule for release in winter 2011, the most interesting part of the film is that it is slated to be directed by none other than Martin Scorsese!

Adventures of Tintin, Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé: Tintin graphic novels are all the rage at Cragmont Library, I just cannot keep them on the shelf for more than a day before they are snapped back up again by eager readers. Word is that after years and years of talk, Spielberg, an avid Tintin fan, and Peter Jackson are joining forces to bring the classic comic to the screen. It may not be until winter break 2011 but I can bet that Cragmont readers will be more than excited to see one of their favorite adventure stories to be big screen.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munroe Leaf: All the 2nd graders this year listened to this classic from 1936 during one of their winter library visits. Ferdinand is a bull in Madrid who prefers smelling flowers under a cork tree to running about and butting heads. We talked about why this particular book has been around so long and what makes is so special. It was already made into a Disney short back in 1938 (one of my favorites from childhood, available on the Disney DVD "The Reluctant Dragon") but word is that Ferdinand will soon be smelling flowers as a CGI bull. Read more here:

Classic Books or Films
Shrek! by William Steig: Though the current Shrek franchise is only loosely based on the classic William Steig book of the same name, it is still worth making the connection. In the book version, Shrek hears a witchly predication that he will marry a princess uglier than himself. Impossible! Or is it? The film has even more literary connections with the inclusion of many more obscure fairy tale characters, like Puss n Boots and the Pied Piper.

Roald Dahl books:
So many movies and books to choose from! Bigger movies/books include The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Roald Dahl passed away at age 74 in 1990 and many of his most well known titles were published long before that but his books are still being made into feature films. The most recent film, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," is only 62 pages in print but inspired a feature length stop-motion film with huge stars!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

California Young Reader Medal

Though many book awards were announced last month, there is one more awaiting votes: The California Young Reader Medal (CYRM). This award is extra exciting because it is California young readers, like Cragmont students, who get to nominate books then submit their votes for which should win.

At Cragmont, 1st and 2nd grades are reading all of the nominated picture books for the 2010-2010 school year and will be voting in a couple weeks. The nominees in the primary category are:
[so far it seems that A Visitor for Bear and Martina the Beautiful Cockroach are front runners, but we still have more to read!]

We also have copies of all the middle grade books for grades 3-5 to read and cast their votes! Books nominated in the intermediate category are:
Students are learning a lot about how to talk about books. For example, instead of just saying "that book was awesome," we are talking about why they thought a book was awesome. Was it the characters? Was it exciting? Were the words silly or the rhymes fun to say?

When we cast our votes at school, we will compare and contrast the books, which may be hard since they are all so different. Duck is a quiet story about friendship while Thelonius Monster is a silly poem about a pie filled with flies. Zorgamazoo is a chapter book written in rhyming couplets with monsters and mystery while Greetings from Planet Earth is a touching story about a young boy learning about his father after the Vietnam War. We will have a lot of hard decisions to make!

The Berkeley Public Library also has copies of these books so you can get them all to read together at home. When sharing them, talk about what made one or another extra special, what it reminded you of and what your favorite part was. These conversations help students articulate the joys of stories and the fun of finding a new favorite.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Volunteer at the Cragmont Library!

Looking for a way to get involved in your student's school and reading? Help at the Cragmont Library!

We have about 500 books go in and out every week, and every one of those books has to be put back on the shelf so other students can try them out! If you are around school and have an extra 30 minutes, I would love help shelving, straightening, labeling and pulling books out for themes. Since students are still learning where things go, shelf reading (making sure a shelf is in the right order) is an important part of making sure our library is easy to use and a nice place to be.

In helping the library, you will be making the space more user friendly and may even come upon some new books to share with your students at home!

Please stop by the library and let me know if you can be a volunteer, I would love your help!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Award Winners for the New Year!

Happy New Year Cragmont Readers!

Every January, the American Library Association (ALA) announces its Youth Media Award for the previous year. Committees of librarians read thousands of books and decide which ones fit the bill for "best of."

Last week, the winners for 2010 were announced! Below are the ALA descriptions of each award and this year's winner:

Newbery Medal: Best novel for children 12 and under, written by an American Author. 2010 winners are...
Caldecott Medal: Best illustrations for a children's book. 2010 winners are...
Coretta Scott King Award: Honors African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults portraying the African American experience. 2010 winners are...
Pura Belpre Award: Honors honor Latino writers and illustrators whose work celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's literature. 2010 winners are...
Siebert Medal: Best informational book for children. 2010 winners are...
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award: Best beginning reader book. 2010 winners are...
Schneider Family Book Award: Best book that "embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences." 2010 winners are...
For more details about each award, lists of all honor books, plus information about all other ALA awards, click here and here. A complete list of all past winners can be found at the American Library Association website.