The Christmas Book Flood by Emily Kilgore and Kitty Moss

Hi, Emily Kilgore! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! I’m grateful you’re here to celebrate The Christmas Book Flood, a poetic picture book that spoke to my heart, feels like it was written for me, and sings out, “Books make perfect presents.” Imagine you’re telling librarians about The Christmas Book Flood. What do you share?

Emily Kilgore: The Christmas Book Flood is an ode to books. Based on a true Icelandic tradition— Jólabókaflóðið, where Icelanders gift each other books on Christmas Eve and spend all night reading and sipping hot chocolate. It’s seeped in wintry wonder, holiday cheer and the magic of gifting loved ones the perfect book.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Kitty Moss is a creative genius! Her illustrations brought the story to life in the best possible way! I am in awe of her collage style and admire how she crafted joy, wonder, and merriment on each page.

Story is an act of hope and resilience. As you’ll read in the book’s Author’s Note, the Jólabókaflóð tradition started during World War II when many items were rationed from Iceland. Paper was one of the few things not rationed, which is why Icelanders gifted books at Christmastime. It was a way to share something special with those they loved during a dark, dark time.

John Schu, you should have asked me where I wrote The Christmas Book Flood! I first started writing it in a cozy, candlelit cafe in Uppsala, Sweden. I was living there with my husband and scrawled out early drafts while a European Christmas was unfolding around me. It was the perfect place to learn about the Icelandic tradition and dream up this story. Then, I did a major overhaul of the text during quarantine and Christmas 2020. I knew we wouldn’t be gathering with family for the holidays so wove all of my favorite Christmas-y things into the story, such as:

Clouds of warm breath,
tight hugs of hello,
the soft crunch under boots,
as they trudge through fresh snow.

I desperately wanted to be able to see those clouds of warm breath (sans masks!) and give tight hugs of hello. Since it wasn’t my reality, I made it so in the story. (As I mentioned above, story is an act of hope and resilience!) This story is special for so many reasons; I hope it will be one that readers return to year after year as they celebrate the magic of books together.

Congratulations, Emily and Kitty! 

Emily Kilgore is a teacher and the author of the picture book The Whatifs. She wrote The Christmas Book Flood by candlelight while in Sweden. She lives in Minnesota.

Kitty Moss is an artist, and the author and illustrator of Where Bone? She lives in Ireland.

Look for The Christmas Book Flood on November 1, 2022. 


Popular Posts