Best Children's Books About Pirates

The 41 best books about pirates!

Updated Jan. 25, 2019

Pirates have become a rather interesting group of characters for us to read about. Particularly unique is their fun jargon. Below you will find the best books about pirates, their adventures and their loot! We hope you enjoy the gander through these ventures as much as we do, Matey!

Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! book
#1
Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers!
Written by Mark Iacolina
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Buccaneers sail. Buccaneers steer. Buccaneers grumble, snarl, and sneer. Hardy har har! Calling all Li'l Buccaneers to set sail on a fun adventure, filled with dancing, singing, sparring, and treasure hunting. Young swashbucklers and their pirate pals are guaranteed a mighty good time with this delightfully rip-roaring, rhyming board book.

Twenty-six Pirates book
#2
Twenty-six Pirates
Written and illustrated by Dave Horowitz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a funny and spunky alphabet book, complete with rhymes that aren't always perfect, and cut paper illustrations that are more edgy than sweet. It's a very fun read aloud and elicits plenty of giggles from my two-year-old boy, who loves this one "again" and "again". Look for the funny frogs throughout the book—they have great facial expressions. Note: I don't believe there is any such thing as a "boy book" or "girl book", but this book does have only boy pirates and has what some might characterize as "little boy humor."

Dave Horowitz’s swashbuckling cut-paper artwork is packed with clever details in this epic companion to his popular Twenty-six Princesses. This rhyming alphabet book is chock full of fun as 26 mischievous pirates head to Captain Frogbeard’s ship where they hope to join the crew—and the fun! From Arty to Zach, the Pirates of the Alphabet are the most colorful crew on the high seas!

The Gingerbread Pirates book
#3
The Gingerbread Pirates
Written by Kristin Kladstrup and illustrated by Matt Tavares
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a fun and entirely original take on gingerbread men at Christmas and will thrill your little one's imaginations with the daring of what one little cookie can accomplish. I was a little nervous about whether I'd like this book, but in the end, my heart was softened to this book, just like Captain Cookie's was towards Santa Claus.

What if a brave Captain Cookie stood up to Santa? A fresh, funny story that sparkles with all the excitement of a pirate adventure — and all the magic of Christmas morning. (Ages 4-10) A funny and magical Christmas story about a gingerbread pirate, Captain Cookie, and his daring adventure on Christmas eve to rescue his crew from a mysterious cannibal named Santa Claus…

Are You the Pirate Captain? book
#4
Are You the Pirate Captain?
Written by Gareth P. Jones and illustrated by Garry Parsons
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I like the illustrations in this book and like that they're trying to find the perfect pirate captain for their crew, but the rhyming scheme was a little more complex and changed quite a bit, which I thought took away from the flow. Fun read, and fun that there's a song at the end!

First Mate Hugh has the whole crew and the pirate ship ready, but they can't set sail until they find a captain! Come on this swashbuckling adventure as Hugh and his scurvy seadogs try to find the perfect pirate for the job. Rather than a peg leg or a hook, it turns out that what their captain needs is the brains to lead! Endpages adorned with lively pirate songs make this book a seaworthy tale from beginning to end!

Pirate's Lullaby book
#5
Pirate's Lullaby
Written by Marcie Wessels and illustrated by Tim Bowers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a fun book full of rhyming and pirate talk. I love the references used that relate to bedtime (or trying to escape bedtime) and pirate adventures. You will definitely experience a load of fun with your little one as you read this before bed.

"Yo ho ho! It's bedtime, but first it's mutiny! This little pirate will do anything to avoid going to sleep. Read along in fun pirate lingo as our young swashbuckler stows his toys in his "treasure chest", searches for his best "mate" (peg-legged Captain Teddy), plays a game of "walk the plank", and reads a few bedtime stories from "Davy Jones's Locker". Will Papa Pirate ever get his little one to catch "forty winks"? Young pirate fans will love this funny, rhyming bedtime story as they laugh along with the little pirate's plots to stay up. It's sure to get every young reader into his "bunk" night after night."

Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas book
#6
Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas
Written by Philip Yates and illustrated by Sebastià Serra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Ahoy mateys Christmas be comin, and even pirates celebrate! In this sly, high-seas reimagining of The Twelve Days of Christmas," a brave cabin boy receives marvelously mysterious gifts for 12 days. But who are they from? With a lively sense of fun and rhythm, Philip Yates and Sebastia Serra create a delightful world all their own."

Treasure Island book
#7
Treasure Island
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Ahoy, me hearties! Join Jim Hawkins as he sails the open seas searching for treasure and learning shapes along the way in Treasure Island: A BabyLit Shapes Primer. Spy the OVAL of Long John Silver’s eye patch, the TRIANGLES in the sails of The Hispaniola, and the CROSS that marks the spot of lots o’treasure! But watch your back because dead men tell no tales.

Pirates Don't Take Baths book
#8
Pirates Don't Take Baths
Written and illustrated by John Segal
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This perfect story for bathtime is now available as a board book! For any young child (or pig), there are few things more excruciating, more traumatic, more torturous than bathtime. And this little pig is putting his hoof down. No. More. BATHS. But how can he possibly accomplish this? Well, by being someone else, of course. After all, everyone knows that pirates, astronauts, and knights in shining armor–just to name a few–never, EVER take baths. Now if only he can convince his mother . . . This humorous story is the perfect choice for kids and parents who know all too well the never-ending struggle of bathtime.

Shiver Me Timbers! book
#9
Shiver Me Timbers!
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

A rollicking collection of pirate poems and illustrations features a motley assortment of scoundrels, scalawags and scurvy mates who engage in battles, treasure hunts and favorite pirate meals. By the award-winning author of Comet, Stars, the Moon and Mars.

The Treasure of Pirate Frank book
#10
The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Written by Elspeth Graham, Mal Peet and illustrated by Jez Tuya
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A boy and his dog set sail in search of treasure, braving stormy seas, mountains snowy and cold, the forest where the monkeys swing, the swamp where the bullfrogs sing, and other challenging obstacles, before finally reaching the end of their quest—the treasure of Pirate Frank. But there’s a surprise in store when they discover that Pirate Frank is a girl. And no one is going to steal her treasure!

The Pirate Ghost book
#11
The Pirate Ghost
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Detective brothers Frank and Joe work to uncover a pirate ghost hoax in the seventh book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. The Hardy Boys are super excited when their friend Jason Wang wins the “Talk Like a Pirate Contest” at Bayport’s annual Pirate Palooza. Jason’s prize is a map to the legendary pirate, Captain Scurvydog’s buried treasure. Expert detectives Frank and Joe offer to help him find it. But the next day, Jason tells the brothers that he won’t be doing any treasure hunting. He says the ghost of Captain Scurvydog has been haunting him; his parrot is singing pirate songs he’s never been taught, pirate coins appeared on his windowsill, and there’s a mysterious note in a bottle warning Jason to stay away from buried treasure. To Jason, the message is clear: stay away from Captain Scurvydog’s booty! Frank and Joe don’t believe in ghosts. They’re sure someone is tricking Jason so they can dig up the buried treasure themselves. The only question is, who?

Pirate Jack Gets Dressed book
#12
Pirate Jack Gets Dressed
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Allison Black
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Ahoy, matey! Join jaunty pirate Captain Jack as he uses every color of the rainbow to pick out his outfit in this bright and bold read-aloud. It’s the crack o’ dawn, and dapper Pirate Jack is ready t’ get dressed for a day out on the high seas with his motley crew. He’ll need every color of the rainbow to make his outfit complete—from his itchy gray long johns and his toasty pink socks to his bright red sash and his cozy purple coat. And he won’t be forgettin’ his black eye patch and trusty brown peg leg, either! But just as he’s about to step outside, he realizes he’s still missing one color: green! Thank goodness a certain feathered friend is ready to jump from her swing and onto his shoulder to complete his colorful look. Squawk!

The Great Drain Escape book
#13
The Great Drain Escape
Written and illustrated by Chris Mould
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A band of tiny squash-bucklers go on adventures of epic proportions in this second book in a brand-new chapter book series about pocket-sized pirates! In the junk shop at the end of the street is a dusty old ship in a bottle. And when the world isn’t watching, a tiny pirate crew comes out of the ship to explore. They aren’t much bigger than a matchstick, but they have a HUGE appetite for adventure! When the junk-shop dog moves in underneath the Pocket Pirates’ shelf, their route to the kitchen is blocked! The noise of rumbling stomachs is keeping everyone awake, and their last few stale breadcrumbs won’t keep them going long. Do they dare to go…OUTSIDE?

Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates book
#14
Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates
Written by April Jones Prince and illustrated by Steven Salerno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A fun and clever picture book retelling of Goldilocks—with pirates! Once upon a seaworthy sloop lived three pirates: the big, pilfering Papa, the medium-sized, menacing Mama, and the small, bonny Baby, a pirate-in-training. They were excellent pirates, but not very good housekeepers, so their gruel wasn't tasty, their stools weren't sturdy, and their hammocks weren't hung properly. Luckily for them, Goldenlocks happened along when they were out for a row in the harbor. April Jones Prince's rollicking text and Steven Salerno's swashbuckling paintings make Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates a first-rate adventure and a spirited take on Goldilocks.

Pocket Bios: Blackbeard book
#15
Pocket Bios: Blackbeard
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A colorfully illustrated, pocket-size picture book biography of the notorious English pirate Blackbeard. Blackbeard, born Edward Teach, was a notorious and much-feared English pirate who famously conquered and captained the Queen Anne's Revenge and prowled the seas around the West Indies and the eastern coast of Britain's North American colonies. Rather than ruling through force and bloody intimidation, it's believed that Blackbeard largely let his fierce image and reputation drive his success. Pocket Bios are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck book
#16
Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck
Written by Brain Yanish and illustrated by Jess Pauwels
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lily is no ordinary chicken. She dreams of a life off the farm, where she can put her grand plans into action. Her wish is granted when pirates recruit her and her fellow chickens and whisks them away to the open seas. Soon, Lily has taken charge and becomes captain of an allchicken crew as the feared chicken pirate Redfoot. But when Lily faces a mutiny, will she change her ways, or be forced to squawk the plank?

Trick ARRR Treat: A Pirate Halloween book
#17
Trick ARRR Treat: A Pirate Halloween
Written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Jorge Monlongo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlotte Blue-Tongue, Peg-Leg Pete, Glass-Eyed Gabby, and their friends swashbuckle through the streets demanding loot and treasure from their neighbors in this Halloween pirate tale. As their world transforms from neighborhood to pirate’s lagoon, they shout, “We be pirates. TRICK ARRR TREAT!” But what’s lurking in the shadows? Are the pirates brave enough to defend their treasure?

Sunk! book
#18
Sunk!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: -

A pirate hat. A sunny day. For Penguin Blue A game to play... Penguin Blue is back in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship. While sailing the seven seas Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly sunk! But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all. The follow-up to the bestselling and award-winning Blown Away.

Bizzy Bear: Pirate Adventure book
#19
Bizzy Bear: Pirate Adventure
Written by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Benji Davies
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Bizzy Bear and his animal friends set sail on a pirate ship in search of a treasure chest filled with golden coins.

The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! book
#20
The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo!
Written by Stephen Bramucci and illustrated by Arree Chung
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Indiana Jones meets Lemony Snicket in this hilarious new series--fully illustrated by picture book talent Arree Chung--that's a must-have for all aspiring adventurers. "The ride of a lifetime." --Matt de la Peña, Newbery Award-winning author Ronald Zupan is a daring master adventurer! But he actually hasn't experienced any grand adventures . . . YET! When his world-traveling parents are kidnapped on his twelfth birthday, Ronald seizes the chance to prove himself with a dazzling, danger-defying rescue operation. Teaming up with his trusty butler Jeeves, his quick-witted fencing nemesis Julianne Sato, and his pet cobra Carter, Ronald sets course for the jungle of Borneo where his parents were last sighted. If they can crash-land a plane and outrun a hungry snow leopard, surely they can find the secret lair of Zeetan Z, the world's most ruthless pirate! But as their adventure becomes more and more dangerous, can Ronald and his companions muster enough courage to see this adventure through?

Captain Jack and the Pirates book
#21
Captain Jack and the Pirates
Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The boys from King Jack and the Dragon are back in this swashbuckling pirate adventure with pictures by the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes Jack, Zack, and Caspar are building a ship—on the beach, out of sand. When they set sail on their imaginary adventure, Jack spies an enemy pirate ship nearby. They chase after the pirates, but a storm wrecks their ship and sweeps them up on a desert island. The island isn't totally deserted, though—their pirate enemies are there too. Just as the boys discover the pirates' treasure (an array of delicious desserts), the pirates (their parents) capture them. But these pirates are friendly—they're willing to share the treasure, and they throw in some ice cream just for good measure! Perfect for storytime read-alouds, this picture book is just right for fans of Three Bears in a Boat, How I Became a Pirate, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

Pirates Don't Drive Diggers book
#22
Pirates Don't Drive Diggers
Written by Alex English and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Digger-mad Brad is not cut out for a pirate's life, instead he dreams of life on a building site. When the Salty Dog sets sail, can he prove to Captain Blood that pirates do drive diggers after all? A rip-roaring rhyming pirate tale for those digger-loving scallywags out there!

Space Boy and the Space Pirate book
#23
Space Boy and the Space Pirate
Written by Dian Regan and illustrated by Robert Neubecker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Niko and his crew embark on an intergalactic adventure to the Planet Zorg, where Niko’s cousin Sasha is being held captive by a space pirate (who is actually Niko’s sister, Posh!). But when Niko and his crew charge in to the rescue, the girls do the unthinkable by capturing his ship and leaving him stranded far from Planet Home. Using his characteristic ingenuity and wit, Niko manages to take back control of his spaceship and his story. With a picture book format, comic book–style artwork, and humorous, simple text, Space Boy and the Space Pirate is both a thrilling adventure and a celebration of the power of pretend play.

Yao Bai and the Egg Pirates book
#24
Yao Bai and the Egg Pirates
Written by Tim J Myers and illustrated by Bonnie Pang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Inspired by the 1863 Egg War and the mad rush for murre eggs on the Farallon Islands near San Francisco, Yao Bai and the Egg Pirates is a high-seas adventure story celebrating the courage and history of Chinese immigrants in America through a fascinating yet little-known event during the California Gold Rush era.

Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince book
#25
Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince
Written by Liz Kessler and illustrated by Erin Farley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Emily Windsnap ends up surrounded by pirates -- and on a life-changing adventure -- in the eighth installment of the New York Times best-selling series. Traveling home by cruise ship should be a relaxing break after Emily's latest adventure, but things take a turn when the ship is overtaken by a pirate king and his crew. After the pirates collect everyone's riches, they steal something even more valuable: Aaron. The pirate king's eldest son takes Aaron captive, forcing him to help guide the pirates to the mythical Trident's Treasure. So Emily dives into action and joins the younger son's crew in hopes of saving Aaron. But while experiencing life on the waves, Emily is surprised to find herself not only enjoying the pirate life, but actually bonding with the crew -- especially Sam, the pirate king's son. Between helping Sam unravel riddles to beat his brother to the treasure and making sure that her friends are safe, Emily realizes that she needs to be true to herself. Will she cast aside her mermaid life to join her new friends, or will she find a way to follow her own path?

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.