Icelandic Tradition Of Book Gifting Comes To Eugene

Nov 28, 2019

A holiday tradition from Iceland has made its way to Eugene. A local writing group collects books as holiday gifts for young people who may not have access to their own reading material.

Melissa Hart (left), local author and Daryll Lynne Evans, Executive Director of Wordcrafters in Eugene.
Credit Aubrey Bulkeley

Jólabókaflóð translates to “Yule Book Flood” in Icelandic. It’s a tradition of giving books as gifts for the holidays and then spending the day reading and eating chocolate. Writer and teacher Melissa Hart says she got the idea from another writer in Seattle who pointed out that for low-income children, books are scarce.

“To be able to have your own book to be able to have a couple of your own books is such a gift. And there have been all these studies showing a correlation between reading literature and increased compassion for self and others.”

Hart has been collecting hundreds of new children and Young Adult books. They’re having a public event to giftwrap books to be distributed to kids at local homeless shelters and service centers. It’s Sunday afternoon from 4-6 at Wordcrafters in Eugene.