Bloodaxe is back: annual book challenge returns to Explore York Libraries | JORVIK Viking Centre

Explore the Jorvik Group

Explore the Jorvik Group


21 November 2022


Bloodaxe is back: annual book challenge returns to Explore York Libraries

Part of JORVIK Viking Festival 2023


Reading lamps at the ready: the time for York’s young readers to pick up a book or four to win a fantastic Norse-themed prize is here, as JORVIK Viking Festival and Explore York Libraries team up for this year’s Bloodaxe Book Challenge, with a slightly different format!

Children from St Aelred’s School prepare for the Bloodaxe Book Challenge 2022

JORVIK’s team of Viking interpreters have thrown down the gauntlet for young bookworms to complete four or more books in the eight weeks from 26 November 2022 to 28 January 2023.  Children signing up for the challenge simply collect a special bookmark from any Explore York Library, receiving a sticker for each book they read.


“It would be lovely if the participants choose historical books – especially Viking-themed – but actually, we’d be delighted if they read four or five of any kind of book,” comments Erin Tattersall, part of the JORVIK Group’s education team that organises the initiative with Explore York Libraries.  “This year, everyone who completes the challenge will have a chance to join best-selling author Francesca Simon for a special talk at Tang Hall Explore on 11 February, to coincide with the launch of her latest book in the Two Terrible Vikings series.”


Each child who fills their bookmark with four or more stickers will receive a certificate, a free child ticket to JORVIK Viking Centre and free entry for one child ticket plus an accompanying adult to the Bloodaxe Author event on Saturday 11 February 2023, hearing the Horrid Henry author talking about her inspiration for the Two Terrible Vikings series.


“Reading for pleasure has so many benefits, not only academically but also on our overall well-being and reading challenges such as this are a great way to encourage children to discover books that will trigger that lifelong love of reading,” comments Lyndsay Glover of Explore York Libraries.  “With a great variety of books both in our branches and online to choose from, every child even the most reluctant of readers will be able to find books to enjoy.”


This year’s Bloodaxe Book Challenge was launched by children from St Aelred’s School when they met Viking Aelfgyth (Sarah Strong) at Tang Hall Explore, where they attended a Time to Read session and took part in a fun Saga activity.


For more information on the Bloodaxe Book Challenge, please visit or




Picture shows:  Children from St Aelred’s School starting their Bloodaxe Book Challenge journey at Tang Hall Explore.