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Icelandic e-book solskin

Letters from the North American-Icelandic Children’s Newspaper Sólskin

UM Libraries Icelandic collection supports open educational e-book launch

February 9, 2023 — 

UM’s first open educational e-book has been published using Pressbooks, an online publishing tool available through UM Libraries, and source materials from the Libraries unique Icelandic collection.

Letters from the North American-Icelandic Children’s Newspaper Sólskin, is an open-access e-book collecting transcriptions and original English translations of a group of letters written by North American-Icelandic children and published in Sólskin (meaning “Sunshine”), an Icelandic-language children’s newspaper. 

Sólskin was published out of Winnipeg, Manitoba as a part of the larger newspaper Lögberg. It was designed to be clipped out and folded once to form a miniature four-page paper. Letters from the North American-Icelandic Children’s Newspaper Sólskin includes 155 individual letters published in Sólskin between October 1915 and April 1918.

Christopher Crocker, creator of the e-book and Icelandic language and literature sessional instructor at UM, became aware of Sólskin when he was working on an article about Icelandic novelist and Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness. “The letters provide rare and remarkable insight into the lives and perspectives of children in the North American-Icelandic community in the early 20th century in their own words.” He collected and translated the letters to make them more accessible.

Christopher explained his choice of making his work freely and publicly accessible. “I’m a strong believer in open access initiatives and feel that researchers should always look for opportunities to make their work as accessible as possible, especially when their research receives public funding.” The e-book was supported in part by the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program.

Using Pressbooks or any other online publishing software for the first time, Christopher was impressed with the accessible interface, the flexibility of Pressbooks, and the support provided by UM Libraries and UM Copyright Office. “Katrin Nielsdottir first directed me toward Pressbooks and put me in touch with Janice Winkler who was very helpful in setting me up on the platform,” he said.

Join us to celebrate the release of Letters from the North American-Icelandic Children’s Newspaper Sólskin:

  • February 15, 2023 (Wednesday)
  • Iceland Boardroom, 3rd Floor, Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba
  • 4:30 p.m. Reception
  • 5:00 p.m. Presentation by Christopher Crocker, Icelandic language and literature sessional instructor at UM
  • Refreshments will be served

Contact Katrin Nielsdottir for any questions.


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