Can you read better than a Viking?  Almost certainly – as the Viking were fans of oral storytelling hundreds of years before the first printing press was invented – but young readers in York are asked to take inspiration for the Norse love of sagas in this year’s Bloodaxe Book Challenge, organised by JORVIK Viking Centre and Explore York Libraries and Archives.

The Bloodaxe Book Challenge is now in its eleventh year, during which hundreds of children will read at least four books between the start of the October half term break (22 October 2021) and 15 January 2022.  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 Bloodaxe Book Challenge certificate.

This year’s event is supported by Macmillan Children’s Books, to mark the arrival of the third and final title in the ‘How to be a Hero’ series of books.  How to be a Hero is a hilarious high-stakes fantasy adventure series for readers aged 8+ about friendship and bravery set in the world of the Norse Gods. Written by Cat Weldon and illustrated by Katie Kear, the first two books, How to be a Hero and Land of Lost Things, are available now. The third and final book in the series, A Gathering of Giants, is out in January 2022.

“We’re delighted that a number of copies of the first two books are now available to borrow from Explore York, and as an extra incentive, children who have completed the challenge will be invited to meet author Cat Weldon at Tang Hall Library on Saturday 19 February – part of JORVIK Viking Festival,” comments Dr Chris Tuckley, head of interpretation at JORVIK Viking Centre.

For more information on the Bloodaxe Book Challenge, or to find out about a visit to JORVIK Viking Centre, please visit www.jorvikvikingcentre.co.uk.  Details of the 2022 JORVIK Viking Festival will be online in early November at www.jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk

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