Booklist: Children's books about the Vikings topic
From raiders and traders to myths and monsters, the Vikings history topic offers a hoard of fascinating themes to dig into. We've put together a list of recommended children's books to help readers take a voyage back in time to the age of the Vikings...
The Saga of Erik the Viking
Terry Jones & Michael Foreman
Illustrated chapter book
Erik the Viking and his crew set sail on a quest aboard the great ship Golden Dragon. Along their way they will encounter monsters, magic and mythical creatures. This is an exciting adventure written in the style of the original Viking sagas and is excellent for reading out loud. The story won the Children’s Book Award in 1984 and includes colour illustrations by Michael Foreman.
A popular choice in KS2 classrooms. The action-packed narrative follows the story of Gunnar, the son of a Viking chief, as he sets out to avenge his father's death after an attack by rival raiders. Combining elements of history and mythology, this is a gripping story that brings the gruesome Viking period to life with all of its peril and gore.
Arthur and the Golden Rope
Joe Todd Stanton
Graphic novel style picture book
This highly appealing text is a hybrid between picture book and graphic novel. It follows the story of young Arthur, who embarks upon a quest to seek out the help of the Viking gods in relighting a fire before the villagers back home freeze to death. In return for their help, Thor sets his own quest for Arthur to complete. A highly engaging book that offers an introduction to Norse mythology.
The Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Adventurers!
Comic-style information book
Get stuck into the fascinating world of the Vikings with Marcia Williams' comic style history of the Norse invaders and settlers. The historic 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 raids, voyages, gods, monsters and fearsome warriors.
Riddle of the Runes
Janina Ramirez & David Wyatt
A mystery story set in Viking times and written by historian and BBC broadcaster Dr Janina Ramirez. Alva lives in the settlement of Kilsgard with her mother, uncle, baby brother and pet wolf, Fenrir. After her father's disappearance, Alva finds herself following trail of runic clues as a puzzle unfolds that readers race to solve alongside Alva. Filled with historical details of vividly imaged life in Viking England, this is a gripping history mystery that will keep readers guessing.
Vikings in 30 Seconds
Philip Steele & Melvyn Ev
The ‘In 30 Seconds’ series of non-fiction texts aims to provide information on various different aspects of a topic in small chunks of text taking approximately 30 seconds to read (we averaged at 27.5!). Vikings in 30 Seconds’ explores a comprehensive range of interesting chunks of information for the Vikings. This text is pitched for KS2 and is accompanied by a range of pictures, infographics and glossaries, making it accessible and appealing to children and well suited to guided reading.
Odd and the Frost Giants
This is a great adventure for upper KS2 or more advanced readers. It follows the story of Odd as he takes up a Viking quest to Asgaard, the home of the Norse gods. The world of the gods is full of mystical and magical surprises. You'll enjoy this story best if you are able to suspend your disbelief and enter the weird and wonderful world of Viking mythology. Complete with black and white illustrations, this is a good choice for fantasy lovers or those interested in delving deeper into the world of Norse mythology.
There's a Viking in My Bed and Other Stories
There's a Viking in My Bed is the hilarious story of Sigurd the Viking, who finds himself transported to a modern day seaside town in England. Will he be able to adapt to modern ways? This is a witty, light-hearted text to use to help draw out the differences between Viking and modern times and is a popular choice in lower KS2.
Mick Manning & Brita Granström
Viking Longship is a fascinating information text full of images, questions and captions that probe deeply into the world of Viking sea voyages. The book offers an appealing non-fiction text exploring Viking life from the point of view of the crew of a longship. With accessible text and engaging illustrations, this is a great addition to your library of books covering the Vikings topic.
The 1,000-year-old Boy
Award-winning author Ross Welford offers a funny and heartwarming tale about Alfie Monk, a 1,000-year-old boy who can remember the last Viking invasion of England. Back in his 'real' childhood in Viking times, Alfie has been frozen in time by an Elixir of life that has made him immortal. But immortality is not everything it's cracked up to be and now, 1000 years later, Alfie is on a quest to find the Viking pearl hidden somewhere off the coast of North East England. There are also some teaching resources available to download from the publisher.
The Dragon's Hoard: Stories from the Viking Sagas
Lari Don & Cate James
Illustrated short story collection
This volume contains 11 illustrated retellings of sagas, which are Viking stories that are characteristically gruesome but also filled with magic and treasure. The retellings in this collection are engaging, exciting and well pitched for KS2. The book contains colour illustrations and extra information pages that explain the history behind the Viking Sagas and how they come to be remembered today.
Defenders: Killing Ground
Chapter book (dyslexia friendly)
In the ‘Defenders’ series, best-selling author Tom Palmer brings together his passions for football and history in haunting stories that are ‘super-readable’ due to their accessible layout including a dyslexia-friendly font and tinted paper. In this story, football-lover Seth discovers that dark and supernatural forces are at play when he witnesses a horrifying Viking massacre in his local football stadium. Together with his friend Nadiya, it is up to Seth to put an end to the violence and save the town.
A hoard of information about the Vikings including aspects of their history, culture, mythology and legacy. Author Jack Tite digs deep into the topic to find the most interesting snippets of information, presented alongside stylised graphic illustrations and fold-out pages that give the pages an extra wow-factor, enabling an impressive tree of life diagram on one page, a lengthy longboat diagram on another and a detailed timeline on another still. Highly recommended.
She Wolf is a Viking adventure story set in the cold harsh winter of Northumbria, AD 866. Ylva (pronounced eel-va) witnesses her mother’s tragic death, which instigates her hunger for revenge – after all, that is the Viking way. Her target: the three fingered man. Ylva has been taught to survive and with the Norse Gods on her side, she knows she doesn’t need anyone else to help. But a chance meeting soon causes her mind to change. This is a suspenseful page-turner that throws readers into action right among wolves, bears, brutal hunters and the complexities of revenge culture. There are also accompanying teaching notes available to download.
The Chessmen Thief
Barbara Henderson & Sandra McGowan
The Chessmen Thief is a Scottish historical adventure set in the time of the Vikings. Based on the story of the real-life Lewis Chessmen (a group of distinctive 12th-century chess pieces discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis) Barbara’s Henderson’s new book for middle-grade readers is a gripping adventure set against the backdrop of Norse mythology. Read our full review over on our blog.