Booklist: Children's books about the Anglo-Saxons topic
Travel back in time to the invaders and settlers of the Dark Ages and find out more about the intriguing Anglo-Saxon period. From fighting and feasts to riddles and runes, we've picked out some recommended children's books about the Anglo-Saxon topic....
Rob Lloyd Jones & Victor Tavares
Illustrated short chapter book
Beowulf is the story of monsters, warriors, journeys and battles. The pages of this Usborne version of the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowulf are filled with rich but accessible language and engaging illustrations. This Usborne version is the most accessible version of Beowulf for Years 3 and 4. or reluctant readers in older years. You can also get an accompanying 2-week English planning pack from Ks2history.
Michael Morpurgo & Michael Foreman
The Michael Morpurgo version of the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowulf is a popular choice for upper KS2 or for more confident readers. Morpurgo draws on the style of the original text, using rich, alliterative language but mixes it with modern themes as he retells the story of Beowulf's epic quest to destroy the monstrous Grendel. Morpurgo's excellent version of Beowulf is also brought to life with engaging illustrations by Michael Foreman
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Comic style short stories
Delve into the fascinating Anglo-Saxon legends of King Arthur and his knights. The tales are retold in a comic book style, with speech bubbles and many humorous details in both the text and illustrations that pupils will love. Encounter stories of King Arthur, Merlin, Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad, Excalibur and the search for the Grail.
This exciting story from Tony Bradman is a popular choice in KS2 classrooms and is set just before the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Follow the story of young Magnus and his adventure-packed journey to the Battle of Hastings, as he is forced to contend with vicious family feuds and merciless claims to the throne. Full of excitement, danger and all the gore of the period, this is an action-packed novel brimming with historical details.
The Buried Crown
A gripping historical adventure featuring the Anglo-Saxon hoard that was unearthed at Sutton Hoo during WW2. The story centres on a young Londoner called George, who has been evacuated to the countryside near Sutton Hoo and is intrigued to find out about the Anglo-Saxon treasures discovered nearby. The most interesting of the treasures is a mysterious Anglo-Saxon crown carrying with it an ancient legend. Before long, George finds himself involved in an exhilarating plot to save the crown from falling into the hands of Nazi invaders. Highly recommended for upper KS2.
Men, Women and Children in Anglo-Saxon Times
Men, Women and Children in Anglo-Saxon Times is a handy non-fiction text that allows children to pursue answers to their own questions about everyday life in Anglo-Saxon Times. Topics include what Anglo-Saxon children did at school, what people did for fun and what jobs they did. This is the kind of book that helps young readers to move beyond hard facts and begin to reflect on what life might have felt like for those living in early Medieval times.
The King Who Threw Away His Throne
From the author of the popular Horrible Histories, this book is part of the 'Saxon Tales' series. The story is about King Vortigern (who may or may not have existed in real life, but many believe that he did) and his servant Mervyn, as they are faced with the threat of invading Saxons and Picts. The text, which is accompanied by fun illustrations, is easily accessible to most pupils in lower KS2) and there are three other Saxon tales in the same series, too.
The Princess Who Hid in a Tree
Jackie Holderness & Alan Marks
The story of Frideswide, a female saint who helped to found Oxford during Anglo-Saxon times. Frideswide is a fiesty young princess who loves climbing trees. After being kidnapped by King Algar of Mercia, she uses her skills to escape. Frideswide went on to found Oxford's first Saxon church, which became Christ Church Cathedral and she is still the patron saint of both the City and University of Oxford. Her story includes adventure, suspense and a few surprises, captured in this picture book with Alan Marks' stunning artwork.
The History Detective Investigates: Anglo-Saxons
An accessible information text designed especially for the National Curriculum, this is a text pitched for teachers and pupils of lower KS2. Taking an investigative approach to history, The History Detective Investigates Anglo Saxons examines key questions and pieces of evidence from the period in order to shine a light on the period that is sometimes known as the Dark Ages.
Freedom for Bron: The Boy Who Saved a Kingdom
N. S. Blackman
Set in Anglo-Saxon Kent, this book tells the story of a slave boy called Bron, who is drawn into a gripping adventure with warlords, warriors and kings. The story is well researched and makes it easy for pupils to engage imaginatively with the historical setting as seen through the eyes of a child. The book also has an in-depth information section at the end to provide further historical context about the Saxons and the Jutes. A free, downloadable KS2 pack to accompany the book is also available.