Books for Bloodaxe – 2018 Viking-themed reading challenge begins

Historically, Vikings preferred their stories to be shared by word of mouth, but children in York are being encouraged to explore mysterious worlds revealed in books with the launch of the Bloodaxe Book Challenge – a precursor to the next JORVIK Viking Festival in February!


The Bloodaxe Book Challenge is now in its seventh year, during which hundreds of will read at least four books between the start of the half term break (27 October 2018) and 12 January 2019.

The initiative is a collaboration between JORVIK Viking Festival and Explore York Libraries and Archives. Participants sign up at any local library to receive their Book Challenge Bookmark. For each book they read, they receive a sticker – at least four should be read to successfully complete the challenge, but there is a special bonus sticker for any young people tackling five or more books. Completing the challenge secures the bookworm a free child’s ticket to JORVIK Viking Centre and a certificate.

‎ “We’ve got a special prize for readerd, too – they will be entered into a draw to meet author Tony Bradman during February’s JORVIK Viking Festival, when he comes to York Explore for a special Viking visit,” comments Dr Chris Tuckley, head of interpretation for York Archaeological Trust, which organises the JORVIK Viking Festival. “Tony’s book ‘Anglo-Saxon Boy’ won the Historical Association’s 2018 Young Quills Award – one of the only awards where the books are judged by young readers themselves. In fact, Tony had no fewer than four books shortlisted in the age 7-9 category – over half of the books in the category, which shows just how popular his works are.”

The competition itself is named after one of York’s most famous leaders, Erik Bloodaxe, who was the last Viking King of York.  

For more information on the Bloodaxe Book Challenge, or to find out more about the events planned for the 2019 JORVIK Viking Festival, please visit