In 2017 Nordic Library Week invites children, youth, and adults to join us on an island hopping in the Nordic Literature with the theme "Islands in the Nordics". The yearly theme for Nordic Library Week is a unifying idea for the chosen books for reading aloud, and will also characterize the different activities and events. In correlation with Finland's 100-year anniversary in 2017, Nordic Library Week wish to bring forward the Finnish literature, and therefore this year's chosen books for reading aloud are all written by Finnish authors.
In the Nordics, there are almost countless islands, from little islets, rocks, and skerries along the coast, to the world's biggest island, Greenland. In addition to Greenland also Island, Denmark, Faroe Islands, and not least, Åland, consists of many islands. There are also thousands of islands along the coast of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Therefore, it is not so odd that islands have become a popular motif in both the Nordic visual arts, folktales, and, not least, Nordic literature. Surrounded by the sea, islands and its inhabitants is in its unique nature a microcosm and a fascinating starting point for stories that have inspired many Nordic writers. The inhabitants of the islands are often described as particularly resilient and independent as they stand together as their own community against weather and wind out by the sea.
Islands are in many ways characterized by a thrilling duplicity. One the one hand, islands are a safe and fixed place where one can seclude oneself, and many people on the mainland connect islands with vacation and long-awaited experiences of nature. On the other hand, islands can also be a source of isolation and need for departure. Islands have a mystical nature that not only creates a physical framework for the Nordic literature, but also a metaphoric picture for the senses. With the theme "Islands in the Nordics" Nordic Library Week is using the literature to put a focus on the physical island, but also its symbolic power as a reflection of feelings of belonging and isolation.
This year's books for reading aloud for Nordic Library Week reflects the theme "Islands in the Nordics" as they each invite you to the literary islands in a unique way. In Treasure Island by Mauri Kunnas the books heroes' ventures on a treasure hunt in search of a secret treasure. The book is based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic pirate's tale and the story is characterized by scary pirates, adventurousness and the hunt for gold and diamonds. In Treasure Island, we meet, amongst others, a stranded pirate who longs back to the mainland and delicious cheese. In the same way that the island is a source of isolation for the stranded pirate, islands can also be a place connected to safety. In the fantasy novel Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff, the small island of Menos represents a home and a place of safety for its inhabitants. The novel Ice written by Ulla-Lena Lundberg tells a story about a young priest and his family who moves to the small island of Örarna. In meeting with the residents of the island and its harsh nature the book reflects a special atmosphere and aspect of island life.