The best children’s books for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" or any day a salty yarn is needed

The Books I Picked & Why

How I Became a Pirate

By Melinda Long, David Shannon

How I Became a Pirate

Why this book?

This book seems to make many “best pirate book” lists, and with good reason. It’s full of fun pirate phrases and songs, has a refrain that encourages audience participation, and has a great underlying message that is subtly delivered through the main character’s own kid perspective. Although being a cantankerous pirate seems like fun, the relatable main character eventually realizes that the pirates’ rule-free lifestyle has some negatives (such as green teeth due to not brushing) and decides for himself that maybe he doesn’t want to be a pirate after all.


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Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates

By Carolyn Crimi, John Manders

Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates

Why this book?

Who could resist a story about chicken pirates in a hot air balloon ship? This outrageous tale of adventure is sure to hold kids’ attention and make them laugh. Sensible, cautious Henry the bunny continues writing in his book despite the other pirates’ protests that writing is a pointless activity. In the end, he saves the day and changes their minds, thus delivering a message (in a fun way) about the importance of reading and writing.


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Pirate's Perfect Pet

By Beth Ferry, Matt Myers

Pirate's Perfect Pet

Why this book?

Kids will enjoy the captain's search for the perfect pet and all the "commotion" the pirates cause wherever they go, "as good pirates should". A visit to the zoo lets the captain cross "peg leg" off his pirate checklist, thanks to a lion (the scene is handled in a humorous way without being scary). And the "poop deck" pun at the end (naughty parrot!) is sure to have everyone laughing


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Pirasaurs!

By Josh Funk, Michael H. Slack

Pirasaurs!

Why this book?

With bouncy rhyming text (extra points for the unique rhyme scheme!), this one makes for a fun read-aloud. Pirates and dinos are a winning combination and it’s a nice touch that Captain Rex is female. The main character is a small dino that kids will relate to and root for, and there is a nice underlying message of cooperation.


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Pirate Mom

By Deborah Underwood, Stephen Gilpin

Pirate Mom

Why this book?

This hilarious story is an early reader rather than a picture book, and it’s a great example of a children’s book that will also entertain adults. Pete’s conservative, well-mannered mom gets turned into a pirate by a hypnotist. Then she proceeds to fly a jolly roger flag over their house, tries to fight a neighbor, steals underwear off the clothesline, and screams at the PTA to “Give me yer loot!” It’s incredibly funny to see the extreme transformation and all the trouble that Pirate Mom causes when she is in a trance.


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