This month in the school library, we will be celebrating the lovely Icelandic tradition of ‘Jolabokaflod’. It is an Icelandic phrase meaning “The Christmas Book Flood”. Every year people in Iceland buy a new book for someone, wrap it up with some chocolate, and give them to be opened on Christmas Eve. People then spend the rest of Christmas Eve reading their new books and eating the chocolate. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country, and from September to December there is a book buying frenzy!
"I've promoted 'Jolabokaflod' in school," explained Mrs N. Dearden, school Librarian, "because it’s a great way to get pupils interested in reading for pleasure. At this time of year, when things can get a bit frantic with all the festivities happening, giving the gift of a book to open on Christmas Eve is very special."
The school librarians have been wrapping up school library books. The books will be issued on the last day of term, and then pupils can open the books on Christmas Eve, read a surprise book, and return it in the New Year.
"I know it will ensure our pupils are continuing to read during the holidays," said Mrs Dearden. "I hope it will encourage our reluctant readers to try something new too. Now they know about 'Jolabokaflod', I hope they will continue to celebrate it throughout their reading lives."
Pupils have already been selecting mystery books to take out.
"The packaging attracts you to the book, you wonder what it could be and look forward to a surprise just before Christmas," said a Year 8 pupil. Another pupil, who also selected a book said, "It is the first time I have ever heard of it, I really like the sound of the word. I thought I would take a book out too."
It's not just pupils who are interested, members of staff think it is a great idea too and some will be starting the tradition with their own families this year.
"As a family of book and chocolate lovers it sounded like a perfect idea and a way of getting everyone off social media for an evening," said Miss L. Walsh, Science Teacher and Head of Canterbury House. "My sister wanted to forgo the chocolate but my dad put his foot down an insisted! Everyone's name went into a hat and I'm buying for my 5 year old nephew."
"I want this year to buy a special Christmas book to mark the first time we do what will I'm sure become a new Walsh family tradition, I'm thinking ‘The Polar Express’ or Raymond Briggs’ ‘Father Christmas’. I'm quite excited to find out which book my sister will choose for me and which flavour of chocolate too!"
"Books are a huge part of Christmas for me," said Mrs C. Knight, Second in English. "Each year my nieces and nephews laugh as I try to disguise the fact I have bought them yet another book with my ingenious wrapping. This year we have agreed that we will take part in 'Jolabokaflod' and hand over the present on Christmas Eve along with some chocolate. Each one of us has chosen a name out of a hat and our aim is to buy them a book they will treasure for years to come."
"I hope this will become a new family tradition and help us keep up our love of reading."
In the New Year photos of books given as part of 'Jolabokaflod' will form a display in the school library. Check back to find out what people bought and received!
Posted by Mrs L Brown
Category: Love Books Library Blog