The 42 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!

Sunk! book
#1
Sunk!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

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.

Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! book
#2
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
#3
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
#4
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
#5
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!

Captain Jack and the Pirates book
#6
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.

Pirate's Lullaby book
#7
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."

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#8
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

Trick ARRR Treat: A Pirate Halloween book
#9
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?

Pirates Don't Drive Diggers book
#10
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
#11
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
#12
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
#13
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?

Race to the Bottom of the Sea book
#14
Race to the Bottom of the Sea
Written and illustrated by Lindsay Eagar
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can a clever young inventor uncover a ruthless pirate's heart of gold? Thrilling sea adventure takes on a hint of steampunk in the second book by the author of the acclaimed Hour of the Bees. When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief -- and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia's invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she's kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor. But as Fidelia and the pirates close in on the prize, with the navy hot on their heels, she realizes that Merrick doesn't expect to live long enough to enjoy his loot. Could something other than black-hearted greed be driving him? Will Fidelia be able to master the perils of the ocean without her parents -- and piece together the mystery of Merrick the Monstrous before it's too late?

Escape from Haunted Treasure Island book
#15
Escape from Haunted Treasure Island
Written by Michael Anthony Steele and illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

The Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates sail to a secret treasure island where they come face to face with pirate ghosts! Will they escape or will they walk the haunted plank?

Battle of the Pirate Bands book
#16
Battle of the Pirate Bands
Written by Michael Anthony Steele and illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Pirates from across the seven seas are gathering for the greatest of pirate competitions. But when the prize trophy is stolen, the Monkey Pirates are framed as the thieves. Can the crew clear their nearly-fearless names? A glossary, discussion questions, and writing prompts round out this exciting adventure story.

Attack of the Zombie Mermaids book
#17
Attack of the Zombie Mermaids
Written by Michael Anthony Steele and illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Captain Banana Beard thinks that finding Neptune's Trident will bring him great fortune. But the treasure carries a curse! What will the Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates do when they come face to face with zombie mermaids?

Hunt for the Octo-shark book
#18
Hunt for the Octo-shark
Written by Michael Anthony Steele and illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When the rest of the Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates don't believe that octo-sharks are real, Captain Banana Beard insists they go on a hunt for the mythical creature. Will the crew discover anything more than trouble in this swashbuckling adventure?

Pirates in Pajamas book
#19
Pirates in Pajamas
Written and illustrated by Caroline Crowe
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Pirates just LOVE pajamas! Frilly ones and spotted ones, woolly ones and dotted ones. Leap aboard the Leaky Parrot for the funniest pirate pajama party EVER!

Prince and Pirate book
#20
Prince and Pirate
Written by Charlotte Gunnufson and illustrated by Mike Lowery
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When two little fish with big personalities have to share the same tank, there are rough seas ahead! Prince and Pirate are proud masters of their very own fishbowls, and life goes along swimmingly—until they’re scooped up and plopped into shared waters. Prince is horrified to find this cheeky cod trespassing in his kingdom. Pirate is sure this scurvy sea slug has come to plunder his treasure. Thus, a battle of regal sneers, seaworthy stink-eyes, and off-the-hook insults begins. Prince and Pirate’s hilarious duel for territory will elicit gales of giggles, hearty guffaws, and heartfelt smiles. Just when it seems their struggle might end in a silly stalemate, a little surprise convinces them to find a way to get along—swimmingly.

Peter Powers and the Swashbuckling Sky Pirates! book
#21
Peter Powers and the Swashbuckling Sky Pirates!
Written by Brandon T Snider , Kent Clark and illustrated by Dave Bardin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Everyone in the Powers family has super awesome superpowers-except Peter. That's why he's been working hard to improve his ice talents and is more powerful than ever. But when a group of sky pirates come to town, they steal everyone's abilities-including Peter's. Without superpowers, Peter is about to discover whether he's as cool as he thought he was or if he was letting his powers define him. Can he help his family, save his friends, and battle the diabolical sky piratesor is his goose cooked? Featuring an extra-special power-packed final chapter that will shock readers! This title is the sixth chapter book in a new series of exciting stories about a young boy who has some rather crummy superpowers. Each story is full of humor, action, and fun, but the charm can be found in the heartfelt message about the power of family, friends, and having confidence.

The Treasure of Pirate Frank book
#22
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!

Pirate Jack Gets Dressed book
#23
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!

Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates book
#24
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
#25
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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!