Will Magnus Chase do for Norse mythology what Percy Jackson did for the classical Greek pantheon—make it extremely popular with kid readers again? Topher Bradfield, the children’s outreach coordinator at Book People in Austin and the lucky recipient of an advance reader copy of Rick Riordan’s The Sword of Summer, thinks so.
“Gosh, yes,” says Bradfield, who interacts with Riordan fans constantly through Camp Half Blood, the summer program based on the Percy Jackson series, which Bradfield leads. “The kids know I have a copy [of The Sword of Summer], and I’ve gotten every kind of comical bribe you could possibly think of. They’re desperate to read it.”
Bradfield has already started incorporating elements from the Norse saga into his programming, including towels with an HV monogram, supposedly purloined from the Hotel Valhalla. For booksellers and librarians preparing their “If you liked Magnus Chase...” displays, we offer this roundup of recent and forthcoming titles inspired by Nordic lore that goes beyond the classic D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths.
Nightborn by Lou Anders (Crown, July). The second installment in the Thrones and Bones series features farm boy Karn and his friend Thianna, a half-human, half-frost giantess, who have teamed up in order to survive pursuit by a Norse-inspired assortment of dragons, trolls, and giants.
The Unofficial Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Companion: The Gods, Monsters, Myths and Stories Behind the New Hit Series by Peter Aperlo (Ulysses Press, Sept.). A companion to the new Riordan series that offers in-depth information about the characters of Norse mythology including Odin, Frigg, Loki, and Thor.
How to Live like a Viking Warrior by Anita Ganeri (Lerner/Hungry Tomato). This guidebook offers a (mostly comic) glimpse into the society from which the Norse myths originated, with important tips on things like “How to fight like a berserker” and “How to ransom a hostage.”
Thor’s Serpents by Melissa Marr and Kelly Armstrong (Little, Brown, May). This is the third and final book in the Blackwell Pages series about Matt and his friends, modern-day descendants of Norse gods living in Blackwell, S.Dak., who are destined to play roles during Ragnarok, in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse.
Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn (S&S, Feb. 2016). Freya is not looking forward to her birthday, when she’ll officially come of age and have to become a Valkyrie, like her mother and sisters. But her first mission—reaping the soul of a fallen soldier—gives her a chance to change her mind about her destiny.
Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards (Harper, Jan. 2016). Loki has escaped his bonds, and it’s up to tweens Buzz and Mary to stop him from recovering the Runes of Valhalla.
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin, Sept.). Eleven-year-old Prudence and the mysterious new kid at school discover another world beneath their own backyards, where Viking gods lurk. When they find themselves pitted against a dangerous enemy, they must find the Eye of Odin—the source of all knowledge—to stop destruction of both their town and the immortal realm.
Thor Speaks! A Guide to the Realms by the Norse God of Thunder by Vicky Alvear Shecter (Boyds Mills, Sept.). The latest in Schecter’s Secrets of the Ancient Gods series, this collection introduces over a dozen Norse myths and the gods associated with them, written in the sonorous voice of the thunder god himself.
Explore Norse Myths by Anita Yasuda (Nomad, Nov.). An introduction to Viking culture, pitched for classroom and homeschool use with suggestions for 25 project ideas designed to deepen understanding of Norse mythology.