The Yule Boys cover illustrated and written by Gay Strandemo.

A picture book that tells Iceland's traditional Yuletide folktaleA picture book that tells Iceland's traditional Yuletide folktaleA picture book that tells Iceland's traditional Yuletide folktaleA picture book that tells Iceland's traditional Yuletide folktale

About Us

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The Yule Boys

Since the 14th century, every Icelandic Yule season includes a visit by the Jolasveinarnir or the Yule Boys, the thirteen sons of Grýla their troll mother and Leppalúði their lazy mountain troll father. The Yule Boys emerge from a volcanic cave where each Yule they spread mischief amid escapades visiting Icelandic families. 

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Celebrate the Jolasveinar at your Home!

Author and illustrator Gay Strandemo invokes a new, lively spirit of these ancient Yuletide merrymakers. Each day of the Yule season, one by one, a different Yule Boy makes his rounds, getting into mischief. Icelandic children hang a stocking or put out a shoe in hopes the Yule Boy will leave a treat. Occasionally they think it funny to leave a spud instead! Then on Christmas night comes the big surprise!

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Yule Boys from Will Publishing

You can get your own copy of The Yule Boys from Will Publishing, a small press dedicated to share stories from around the world for your delight!

PURCHASE THE YULE BOYS AT THESE LOCATIONS

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WISCONSIN

MADISON

THE CENTURY HOUSE GIFTS, 3029 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53705 - (608) 233-4488


THE STONE FENCE, 22322 Atwood Avenue, 

Madison, WI  53704 - (608) 238-4331


MILWAUKEE

WOODLAND PATTERN BOOK CENTER

720 E. Locust St.

Milwaukee, WI  53212 - (414) 263-5001

<woodlandpattern.org>


MT. HOREB

OPEN HOUSE IMPORTS, 308 East Main Street,

Mt. Horeb, WI  53572 - (608) 437-5468 (800) 236-8811

Also: Check the Open House Imports Catalog


SPRING GREEN

ARCADIA BOOKS

102 E Jefferson St.

Spring Green, WI 53588  - (608) 588-7638

https://www.readinutopia.com>


STURGEON BAY

NOVEL BAY BOOKSELLERS

44 North 3rd Avenue

Sturgeon Bay, WI  54235 (715) 207-1484

read@novelbaybooks.com


WATERTOWN

LITERATUS & CO. (Formerly TRIBECA)

401 East Main St.

Watertown, WI  53094 <tribecagallerycafe.com>


WAUNAKEE

SIMPLY UNIQUE, 115 West Main St.

Waunakee, WI  53597 (608) 843-8006 


WAUWATOSA

THE LITTLE READ BOOK

7603 W. State St.

Wauwatosa, WI 53213 - (414) 774-2510

MINNESOTA

ALEXANDRIA

SCANDINAVIAN GIFTS AND IMPORTS

604 Broadway St., (320) 763-6363


MINNEAPOLIS

INGREBRETSON'S, 1601 Lake St.

Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 729-9333

Contact Us

Drop us a line!

Better yet, get ready for the Yule Boys!

The Yule Boys will visit when you least expect it during the Yule Season. 

Check below to see when the Yule Boys are most likely to visit your home, probably when you are not looking!

The Yule Boys

Yule Season

Mon

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Tue

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Wed

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Thu

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Fri

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Sat

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Sun

12:00 am – 11:45 pm

Bringing the Yule Boys Into My Home

Printed in Icelandic Roots Newsletter


Stories

Bringing the Yule Boys into my Home

November 29, 2018


Gay Strandemo

The following is a guest post by author, Gay Strandemo.

This is an article describing my adventure with the Yule Boys. 

Growing up in a Nordic-American family in northern Minnesota gave me a love of the Yule season, which was celebrated with gusto. Both of my parents worked, so daycare consisted of my grandparents, who lived in an apartment above their business -- a men's clothing store. My grandfather was artistic and drew beautifully, and encouraged me to draw, so from a young age I did.

I work as a librarian, but I've always had an art project going as well. For a time I acted at a local experimental theater in Madison, Wis., and for a while I had a band that performed music I wrote and sang. While working at the public library, I also wrote and directed a series of plays for children each summer for the local school system and later at my public library every year for over a decade. These plays were usually based on international folktales -- always an interest of mine. It was when I was writing a play based on Scandinavian folktales that I came upon the story of the Yule boys and was captivated enough by the notion of these mischievous Jolasveinarnir to start the tradition of the Boys' visit to my own young children. Later, we began having holiday parties for friends and family to celebrate the Yule Boys' return every season. We've done this for many years -- it's always a great time!

While visiting the American-Scandinavian Foundation's building in New York City during December 2017, I overheard a gift shop worker respond to a phone inquiry by saying, "Thirteen what? No, no, we haven't any such thing like that here." That was when I figured that the story of the Yule Boys must be told, so that everyone can have fun celebrating them.

I hadn't drawn anything in ages, so, feeling trepidation, I first asked my husband and artist sister if they were interested in illustrating my written story. They were helpful, but ultimately, I realized that I had the strongest inspiration and motivation to tell this particular story. I set out for the fantastic art store, Artist & Craftsman Supply in Madison, Wisconsin, where I loaded up on every supply imaginable for bringing my vision to paper.

Once I began drawing -- I loved the task as I had as a child-- it felt as though the Yule Boys themselves were directing my choices for each of their profiles!

I've never been to Iceland, so I had to later amend a few details of my final drawings -- for instance, laying more snow, and darkening the skies to consider the time of year. One thing I did on purpose was creating the look of the Yule Boys to resemble teenage boys rather than old men -- it was just how I had always pictured them, so I went with that image.

I connected with Sunna Furstenau of the Icelandic Roots organization. She and Icelandic Roots Library intern Þordís Edda Guðjónsdóttir went over my text and Þordís corrected a few Icelandic spelling and grammar errors to make the text accurate and authentic. I was so grateful for their help. Sunna also was kind enough to show me how we were related through several Icelandic family connections that I did not know.

It has been a fun learning experience for my husband, the self-publisher of "The Yule Boys," and myself. We decided to go that route in order to really own the interpretation ourselves, and it has been a rewarding decision.



Gay is IR #I204687. If you are a supporting member of Icelandic Roots, you can find your relationships to Gay in the IR Database. Let her know if you are a close cousin!
Stories

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