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Book reviews

Anglo Saxons

& Vikings


Here we review some of the best fiction and non-fiction books to go with topics about the Anglo Saxons & Vikings

Beowulf (Usborne)

The pages of this Usborne version of the Anglo-Saxon legend Beowulf are filled with rich but accessible language and engaging illustrations. Beowulf is the story of monsters, warriors, journeys and battles. Many primary teachers report high-quality writing stemming from the use of this text and we have found that this Usborne version is the most accessible version of Beowulf for Years 3 and 4.

Check out our Beowulf Literacy Pack to go with this text.

Beowulf (Michael Morporgo)

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. This edition of the text is brought to life with engaging illustrations by Michael Foreman.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Delve into the fascinating quests of King Arthur and his knights. These heroic 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. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is guaranteed to capture young imaginations.

For a meatier text about King Arthur, try Morpurgo's Arthur, High King of Britain or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Anglo-Saxon Boy

This exciting new release from Tony Bradman is likely to become a key text in KS2 classrooms. 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. 

You may also like the other text is this series by Tony Badman, Viking Boy.

Freedom for Bron: The Boy Who Saved a Kingdom

Teachers looking for a novel to use with their Anglo Saxon topic will warmly welcome this exciting new book. Set in Anglo-Saxon Kent, it 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.

Looking for more instructional texts on a Romans theme? Check out our Romans Instructions Literacy Pack.

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.

How to Train Your Dragon

This story is a big hit with children in KS2 and will leave its readers pleading for more at the end of each chapter. Follow the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, an unimpressive Viking who finds it hard to live up to expectations. Hiccup finally learns how to fight dragons and become a hero, although it is a very bumpy ride full of hilarious mishaps along the way.

The Time-Travelling Cat and the Viking Terror

This novel is a suitable text for either Anglo-Saxon or Viking topics as it tells the story of a cat who travels to a Saxon village under threat of Viking invasion. The Time-Travelling Cat and the Viking Terror is a clever invasion-themed story that will have pupils gripped from the start.

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.

NGK Everything Vikings

This is a popular information text for children, complete with high quality images and packed with facts designed to answer key questions about the Vikings.

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Head to BooksForTopics to see an updated list of anglo-saxon books.

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