Of all the weird, wonderful, and wintery traditions surrounding the Christmas season, I am here today to introduce you to the gift-giving practice of young librarians’ dreams: Jólabókaflóð.
Jólabókaflóð, which loosely translates to “Christmas Book Flood”, is the Icelandic practice of gifting and exchanging books on Christmas Eve. Dating all the way back to WWII (when paper was one of the few commodities not subject to severe rationing), jólabókaflóð is now harkened by the distribution of an annual catalogue of new publications. Although this catalogue (the snappily entitled ‘Bókatíðindi’) is sadly beyond our reach, it is my pleasure to bring you some of the latest and greatest YA additions to the library catalogue. I would suggest you read these, buy them, and then merrily sling them at all your bookish friends.
Now, I will be the first to admit that – when browsing for books – I automatically drift towards the fantasy section. However not everyone out there has the same excellent taste as me, so I’ve branched out in order to offer you a slightly more accommodating collection of potential gifts for your upcoming jólabókaflóð festivities:
The Raven Boys / Stiefvater, Maggie
“Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.” (Catalogue)
The inexplicable logic of my life : a novel / Sáenz, Benjamin Alire
“Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?” (Catalogue)
Children of blood and bone / Adeyemi, Tomi
“Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.” (Catalogue)
The apple tart of hope / Fitzgerald, Sarah Moore
“Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world’s most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No-one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope.” (Catalogue)
The amazing Maurice and his educated rodents / Pratchett, Terry
” Every town on Discworld knows the stories about rats and pipers, and Maurice – a streetwise tomcat – leads a band of educated ratty friends (and a stupid kid) on a nice little earner. Piper plus rats equals lots and lots of money. Until they run across someone playing a different tune. Now he and his rats must learn a new concept: evil . . .” (Catalogue)
Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie
“The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship’s artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
In order to ascertain quality YA recommendations, I must confess that I turned to younger family members for aid. Yes that’s right, I have informants amongst the youth of today. And my research has led me to believe that the youth of today like frogs (that’s understandable, y’all need the serotonin). So here’s one more recommendation:
Frog and Toad : the complete collection / Lobel, Arnold
“Once upon a time there were two good friends, a frog and a toad. From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other – just as best friends should be.” (Catalogue)
So there you have it! ‘Tis the season for friends, family, food, and a colossal number of books. From all of us here at Wellington City Libraries, Merry Christmas and Happy Jólabókaflóð!
And remember that Santa Claus is also… technically… a cryptid.