Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 16 December 2022


Our final post for 2022 comes from Maureen Mann, and she wraps up the year by introducing a wonderful tradition for Iceland. Have you heard of Jolabokaflod? Read on and be inspired to start a new tradition on Christmas eve.  

Merry Christmas 2022 everyone – or Happy Holidays for those who don’t follow Christian beliefs.

What are your family’s Christmas or holiday traditions? We all have them, even if they are not different from many others.

One of the traditions I really respect is from Iceland. It’s called Jolabokaflod (Jólabókaflóð in Icelandic), which translates as Christmas Book Flood. It’s a tradition which started in the 1930s and 1940s to encourage literacy and reading in their long dark winters and help the Icelandic book trade. It’s become such a success that Iceland is now recognised as the first country to have full literacy. The idea is to give and receive new books to and from family and friends, on December 24, and the evening is to be spent immersed in those books. And chocolate I believe! Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Australia to start a similar tradition!

So, what would you choose to give to your family? Here are some of my top picks from the year.

Jason Cockcroft’s Running with Horses is a gritty and realistic sequel to his previous We Were Wolves. Best for older readers, who will appreciate Rabbit's traumas as well as the stunning monochrome illustrations.

Old Fellow by Christopher Cheng and Liz Anelli. A gentle story about an old man and his old dog as they spend their day in their multicultural community. It’s a picture book which will be appreciated by a wide age range, not just the youngest readers.

My Deadly Boots by Hakea Hustler, Carl Merrison and Samantha Campbell. This fun story, with its colloquial language and rhythms, celebrates the confidence of finding oneself, but the reader may not need such a vibrantly colourful pair of footwear to do so.

Rita’s Revenge by Lian Tanner returns to the world of A Clue for Clara, where animals must learn to communicate with each other at the same time as solving a crime. A great fun story with subtle complexities.

Maybe: A Story About the Endless Potential in Us All by Kobi Yamada and Gabriella Barouch is a beautiful picture book about following life's journey through the good times and the harder ones and achieving one's potential. The illustrations are wonderful.

The Bookseller's Apprentice by Amelia Mellor. This is a prequel to The Grandest Bookshop in the World and is sure to delight fans of that story.

Fans of Katrina Nannestad's Travelling Bookshop series will be delighted that there was another title published this year: #3 Mim and the Anxious Artist. There's another scheduled for 2023 too -- #4 Mim and the Disastrous Dog Show. If you haven't met Mim and her wider family as they travel the world, you've got a treat in store!

For adults, I’ve enjoyed Chris Hammer’s crime thrillers this year. Try The Tilt, published 2022, or start with his first, Scrublands.

If you missed Lyndon’s blog last week, promoting the delights of e-books and audiobooks through the library, please go back and read it. He shows how easy it is for us all to join in to reading, without the expenses. Enjoy whatever books you receive – and I hope there are lots of them over the summer.

And again, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Maureen Mann

Retired teacher librarian and avid reader

Editor’s note: What a wonderful idea and what great suggestions to help you find ‘the perfect book’ to give on Christmas eve. Thank you Maureen, and all of the contributors to our blog in 2022. You have kept us entertained, challenged our thinking, provided windows into the amazing work of book creators and provided a wealth of story ideas to keep us, and our children reading.

Happy Jolabokaflod and a Merry Christmas to you all.

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