AS part of next year’s Jorvik Viking Festival, the Jorvik Viking Centre and York libraries have devised a reading challenge especially for young bookworms and history enthusiasts.

Erik Bloodaxe, the last Viking ruler of York, who died in 954, was not just a fearsome warrior – he was a real fan of storytelling too.

Inspired by this, the Bloodaxe Book Challenge, which will run from Saturday until February 2, encourages young library visitors to read four books on any historical theme, fact or fiction.

Readers must then be prepared to tell library staff all about their books in order to collect exclusive stickers, a certificate and a prize on completion. The books do not just have to be about Vikings. Subjects can range from dinosaurs to Victorians, dragons to steam trains. All readers completing the four levels will be entered into a draw to meet Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon, on February 21 at York Explore library.