Winter is an exciting time of year filled with holidays and celebrations. The Winter Solstice, which marks the official start of winter, is the longest night and shortest day of the year. Many cultures and regions throughout the ages celebrated this astronomical phenomenon by coming together with feasts and festivities. From the lighting of the menorah during Hanukkah, to decking the halls for Christmas, and festive drumming during Kwanzaa, winter is a season with many special holidays that focus on spending time together with family and friends.
On Dec. 24, people across Iceland exchange gifts of books with one another. After unwrapping their literary treasures, they curl up in cozy armchairs by the fireplace or sit up in bed and read. This Christmas Eve tradition is known as Jólabókaflóð, phonetically pronounced yo-la-bok-a-flot, and means Yule Book Flood. During World War II restrictions were placed on many foreign imports but paper remained cheap. So books became a popular present at Christmas time and the tradition of reading on Christmas Eve was firmly established.
Embrace the Jólabókaflóð spirit and make books and reading part of your holiday gatherings. Visit any Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library and borrow a book you can read together as a family. Make a night of staying in, drinking hot chocolate, and reading a fun, festive story. If you want to buy a book to give as a gift, new and used books can be purchased at the Friends of the Library bookstores, located inside most Hillsborough County libraries. Reading together as a family will become a holiday tradition everyone in the family will enjoy. For a list of book suggestions, visit http://bit.ly/winterholidaybooks.
The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library has a variety of ways to keep your children engaged, entertained and educated while school is out this winter break. In addition to books and DVDs, you can borrow Playaway Launchpad tablets from the library that are preloaded with educational games in the areas of STEAM, Early Literacy, Science, Critical Thinking and more.
The Playaway Launchpad tablets are 100 percent secure and designed for children ages 5-10. VOX™ Books, print book with an audio recording attached, can also be checked out from the library. VOX™ Books allow children to listen to the story while following along in the book, a great way to promote learning and literacy development. Hoopla and Overdrive are two of the library’s digital resources you can access from home that allow you to download and stream movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows. Tutor.com is an electronic database available through the library that offers live, one-on-one tutoring in Math, science, English, and more. All these resources and more are available for FREE with a Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library card. Visit www.HCPLC.org to view more.