Every September 19th, we batten down the hatches for Talk Like A Pirate Day!
These are some of my favorite pirate books for storytime. There are so many great stories out there, so I narrowed this list down to picture books that are more appropriate for school-age storytimes, rather than toddlers or preschoolers.
To further get in the seafarin’ spirit, here are some of my favorite pirate crafts for kids.
Pirate vs. Pirate: the Terrific Tale of A Big Blustery Maritime Match by Mary Quattlebaum & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Bad Bart is the biggest, burliest boy pirate in the Atlantic. Mean Mo is the maddest, mightiest girl pirate in the Pacific. When they meet in the middle, it’s a no-holds-barred contest to see who is the best pirate in the world. They test who is brave enough to swim with sharks, who is strong enough to throw a cannonball, who can eat the most hard tack, and who has collected the most treasure. Again and again their respective crews proclaim, “Tie!” Bad Bart and Mean Mo stare each other down and… fall head over heads in love! This epic tale of the union of two pirate captains is told in seadog lingo and illustrated with of knockout oceanic battles. It’s a love story like no other. Arrgh!
Small Saul by Ashley Spires
From the creator of Binky the Space Cat, a hilarious story about an unconventional little pirate. Ahoy there! Will this sweet little pirate find his place aboard The Rusty Squid or will he be forced to walk the plank? When Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid , it doesn’t take long for the other pirates to notice something is very different about this tiny fellow. He was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Being rough and tough just isn’t in his nature. Small Saul learned at Pirate College that pirates only care about three things: their ship, being tough and lots and lots of treasure. Can Small Saul show these ruffians that despite his gentle spirit, he’s worth his weight in gold? With treasure chests of laughs, Small Saul’s high-seas adventure is a light-hearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one’s self.
Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies by Carolyn Crimi & illustrated by John Manders
Aboard a ship called the Salty Carrot sails a wild, rowdy band of Buccaneer Bunnies. Their leader, Barnacle Black Ear, is the baddest bunny brute of all time, but his son refuses to perform his proper pirating duties. Henry would rather read books than shout “Shiver me timbers!” or make prisoners walk the plank — even if it means he has to swab the decks as punishment. But when a crashing, bashing, thrashing wildcat of a storm threatens the Salty Carrot and its crew, will Henry and his landlubbin’ library save the day?
Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi & illustrated by John Manders
Henry and his crew of buccaneer bunnies return for another high-seas adventure. After finding a threatening message in a bottle, Henry and his unsuspecting crew are attacked by Crazed Chicken Pirates. Can Henry save the day?
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Russell Ayto
When Flinn discovers a pirate hiding in the school supply closet, it’s all aboard, me hearties, for a real live pirate adventure! Captain Stubble needs Flinn’s help to find his stolen ship, but there are some mean pirate dinosaurs on the loose, and Flinn and his friends soon sail into trouble….Will fearless Flinn be able to captain the ship and defeat the pirate dinosaurs?
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: Missing Treasure! by Giles Andreae & illustrated by Russell Ayto
SHIVER ME TIMBERS! The treasure of pirate Rufus Rumblebelly has disappeared form the museum! Luckily, Captain Flinn eagerly takes the helm and heads to Bag o’ Bones Island. . .only to be met by a rogue gang of pirate dinosaurs with swords at the ready! Flinn and his friends may be able to triumph, but are they prepared to face the fierce, frightening, and most terrifying-looking pirate GIGANOTOSAURUS?
How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long & illustrated by David Shannon
When Braid Beard’s pirate crew invites Jeremy Jacob to join their voyage, he jumps right on board. Buried treasure, sea chanteys, pirate talk–who wouldn’t go along? Soon Jeremy Jacob knows all about being a pirate. He throws his food across the table and his manners to the wind. He hollers like thunder and laughs off bedtime. It’s the heave-ho, blow-the-man-down, very best time of his life. Until he finds out what pirates don’t do–no reading bedtime stories, no tucking kids in. . . . Maybe being a pirate isn’t so great after all.
Pirates Don’t Change Diapers by Melinda Long & illustrated by David Shannon
When the pirate crew turns up at Jeremy Jacob’s house and accidentally wakes his baby sister, that wee scallywag howls louder than a storm on the high seas. Sure, there’s buried treasure to be found, but nobody’s digging up anything until Bonney Anne quits her caterwauling. So, quicker than you can say “scurvy dog,” Braid Beard and his swashbuckling pirates become . . .babysitters? Blimey!
Backbeard: Pirate For Hire by Matthew McElligott
Backbeard may have a new suit, but he is still one of the orneriest, smelliest, and hairiest pirates ever to sail the high seas. And his crew still likes to smash and steal things–they just prefer to do it in style. Unfortunately, certain members of the Pirate Council don’t think he looks piratey enough in his new garb, and since they are just as stubborn as Backbeard, it’s their way or the waterway. Unwilling to give up his birthday suit, Backbeard sets out in search of new employment. He can pillage and plunder with the best of them, but who’ll dare to hire a dirty, smelly ex-pirate?
Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke & illustrated by Kerstin Meyer
Ferocious pirate Captain Firebeard THINKS that he and the ruthless crew of the “Horrible Haddock” rule the high seas. But Firebeard and his band meet their match when they kidnap a small but feisty girl named Molly. Even after the pirates threaten Molly with sharks and make her scrub the deck, she is utterly defiant — and will NOT tell Firebeard who her parents are. All the while, Molly is busy sending secret messages in bottles…but to whom? When her rescuers arrive, the pirates are in for a real surprise! For the TRUE fiercest pirate on the seas is none other than Molly’s mother!
Roger, the Jolly Pirate by Brett Helquist
Jolly Roger was a lousy pirate. Whenever there was any real pirating to be done, the other pirates scowled and sent him away. Jolly Roger often wished he could think of something — anything — that would make the other pirates like him. Then one day, in the middle of a great battle, Jolly Roger had a wonderful idea . . . and pirate ships would never be the same again!
Tough Boris by Mem Fox & illustrated by Kathryn Brown
Boris von der Borch is a mean, greedy old pirate–tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? When a young boy sneaks onto Boris’s ship, he discovers that even pirates cry.