Norse inspiration for Bloodaxe Book Challenge

By royal appointment!  That’s how the children’s books at York libraries could be described between now and February, with children invited to join the fifth annual Bloodaxe Book Challenge.

The challenge is named after Erik Bloodaxe, the last Viking King in York, who will feature prominently in 2017’s JORVIK Viking Festival.  Organised by the engagement team at JORVIK and Explore York Libraries & Archives, the challenge encourages children to read more books, with rewards for children completing the challenge including a certificate and a ticket to see the newly re-imagined JORVIK Viking Centre when it re-opens next Spring.

“As part of York Archaeological Trust, education plays a big part in the work done at JORVIK.  With reading at the heart of learning, we’re delighted to be encouraging children to read more. York’s libraries offer an amazing resource which is accessible to everyone in the city – free for children to join, a free to borrow any number of books,” comments Fran Bennett, Interpretation and Engagement Manager for JORVIK.  “Children have to read just four library books to successfully complete the challenge, with the added incentive of a free ticket to experience the new JORVIK Viking Centre in the spring.”

Children that collect four stickers from the library – one for each book read – will also be entered into a draw to win free tickets to an event with leading author of children’s fantasy and historical novels, Robert J Harris, when he appears at the JORVIK Viking Festival in February.  Many children will be familiar with his series of children's novels on a Norse mythology theme, the latest of which is Odin Blew up my TV.

All of York’s libraries are taking part in the challenge, and children receive a bookmark on which to collect their stickers when they sign up.  In total, over the last five years, an estimated 1200 children have taken part, reading over 5000 books!

For more information on the Bloodaxe Book Challenge, please visit


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698


About Us

Based in York, UK, the JORVIK Group of Attractions comprises:JORVIK Viking CentreDIGBarley HallThe Richard III Experience at Monk BarThe Henry VII Experience at Micklegate Bar The JORVIK Group also organises the annual JORVIK Viking Festival each February in York, and the Yorkshire Medieval Festival in August.