Best stories for children about Vikings and their Norse world
Published on: 18 October 2021 Author: Cat Weldon
If your child is fascinated by Viking battles and all things Thor and Odin, then author Cat Weldon has just the booklist for you.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Viking”? A large, hairy man brandishing an axe while leaping off a longboat, perhaps?
While this is one element of being a Viking, it isn’t the whole story. The Viking world was far broader and more amazing than that. I’ve always been fascinated by the colourful and chaotic world of the Vikings, and these books are perfect for exploring their beliefs and how they saw the world (or should that be nine worlds?).
Norse Myths and Norse Tales, written by Kevin Crossley-Holland and illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love
Stories you may know and some you probably won’t, all wrapped up in the most beautiful prose. These books transported me straight to a Viking longhouse, listening to evocative tales from Norse mythology while sitting around a crackling fire.
Odd and the Frost Giants, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell
Odd is a Viking boy who happens to find three Norse Gods imprisoned in animal form and trapped on Earth. This was the first Viking-era book I read that blended the real world of humans with that of the Gods, making them both feel equally real and important. It gave me the confidence to carry on with my own ideas in blending the crazy world of Norse Mythology with the lives of humans.
Viking Voyagers by Jack Tite
This book is visually stunning and very informative. Bold illustrations accompany fantastic facts about Viking lives and beliefs. Pages fold out to extend information and secrets appear under flaps. I had to wrestle it away from my children to have a look myself and I’m sure I haven’t uncovered all its secrets yet!
Riddle of the Runes, written by Janina Ramirez and illustrated by David Wyatt
Lots of Viking books focus on male characters fighting or invading new lands on their longboats, but this is a bit different. Alva wants to be an investigator, but first she must navigate her place in her community and solve the mystery of the monk’s treasure. A vivid depiction of the Viking world and how they saw themselves.
Vicious Vikings, written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown
A Horrible Histories classic! It’s easy to think of the Vikings simply as terrifying warriors but they also had regular baths and cleaned their ears using special spoons. This book is full of funny facts and stories all told in a range of interesting and accessible formats. Easy to dip in and out of and always giving you something new to find out. I love the Viking First Aid guide!
Writer in Residence
Our current Writer-Illustrator in Residence is Michael Rosen, who is writing blogs, running competitions and giving us their unique perspective on the world of children's books.