A picture of several piarate-themed books on a green background with light blue squiggles

Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1882)

No pirate lover’s bookshelf is complete without this swashbuckling classic from Robert Louis Stevenson. When a mysterious stranger dies at Jim Hawkins’ parents’ inn, he finds himself with a map that will lead him to the evil buccaneer Captain Flint’s stolen treasure. So, Jim sets sail for Treasure Island but with a crew who are not quite what they seem. In fact, one of them is the most infamous one-legged pirate ever to sail the seas…

Recommended reading age: 9+ years old

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (1911)

Join Wendy, Michael, and John Darling as they fly off to Neverland to meet one of the most notorious pirates of children’s fiction. Captain Hook and his fearsome crew have evil plans for Peter Pan and his gang of Lost Boys. As well as evading pirates, the Darling children meet fairies, mermaids, and even a ticking crocodile. But with all the amazing adventures they’re having, will Wendy, Michael, and John ever want to go back home to London?

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

Goodnight Pirate by Michelle Robinson & Nick East (2014)

Even the cheekiest scallywags will be ready for sleep after reading this delightful book. Goodnight Pirate is about a little boy who is transformed into a swashbuckling pirate after he says goodnight to his dressing-up clothes and toys. Finding himself aboard a ship with a small crew, he sets off to recover buried treasure. Michelle Robinson’s rhyming text along with Nick East’s engaging illustrations will leave even the smallest shipmates feeling calm as they settle down for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Recommended reading age: 3-6 years old

The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar (2020)

Aleja has always dreamed of a life of magic and adventure so when a mysterious ship arrives in her Spanish harbour city, it appears that the stars have finally aligned. This ship, The Ship of Shadows, is crewed by a band of ruthless women, and it wants her to join the crew. It won’t be an easy ride, and Aleja will have to gain the trust of her fellow pirates before they reveal the purpose of their watery mission…

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae & Russell Ayto (2006)

This book is proof that school is never boring, as Flinn discovers a real-life pirate captain inside the art cupboard. Captain Stubble’s ship, the Acorn, has been stolen and he needs Flinn’s help to get it back. As they sail away on an old pirate ship the pair soon realise that the Acorn has been taken by pirate dinosaurs. A battle begins to defeat those rapscallion dinosaurs and eventually Captain Flinn and his crew seize back control of the ship. But will they manage to get the ship into harbour and make it back into the art cupboard before the teacher notices?

Recommended reading age: 2-6 years old

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)

Older pirate fans will love being swept under the waves for a change with Jules Verne’s classic science fiction adventure. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is the famous story of Professor Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned Land who, after being thrown off their ship, are taken prisoner by Captain Nero and aboard his underwater vessel, the Nautilus. And so marks the beginning of an epic journey on board a submarine that travels through waters never before explored. It’s an adventure you won't want to miss!

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

The Edge Chronicles 5: Stormchaser by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell (1999)

We’ve all heard of pirates sailing the high seas, but have you ever heard of pirates voyaging across the skies? In Stormchaser, young Twig Verginix has achieved his dream of becoming a sky pirate and a crew member aboard The Stormchaser. But he’s still not happy. His father and captain of the ship, Cloud Wolf, has forbidden him from joining a quest to collect stormphrax – a valuable crystal created by lightning. Twig defies Cloud Wolf’s orders however and manages to smuggle himself onto the Stormchaser. But will this be a huge mistake, and can the ship and its crew survive the destructive force of the Great Storm?

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar (2008)

Siblings Maya, Simon, and Penny find themselves washed up on a deserted tropical island after losing their parents in an ocean storm. But despite their loss, the three children can’t help but be amazed at the green mountains and pink sandy beaches of Tamarind. They are, however, clueless about its dark secret. With pirates and jaguars on the prowl, outsiders have never managed to escape the island before. Will the children be the first or will they be lost forever? This is the first book in a magical trilogy and one for every adventure-seeker’s bookshelf.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt & Ross Collins (2015)

Everyone knows it’s disgusting to pick your nose and eat it, right? Well, Mabel Jones learns her lesson the hard way. When she commits ‘The Deed’ she finds herself bundled into a sack and carried off onto a pirate ship, the Feroshus Maggot. Here she meets the weirdest crew of pirates, captained by Idryss Ebeneezer Split. The captain is a wolf with a false leg carved from a human thighbone who carries a rusty cutlass in his belt and a loaded pistol in his pants. And it looks like he is about to take Mabel on the adventure of a lifetime.

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

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