81 books like Pirate Queens

By Leigh Lewis, Sara Woolley (illustrator),

Here are 81 books that Pirate Queens fans have personally recommended if you like Pirate Queens. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of She Captains: Heroines and Hellions of the Sea

Darlene Marshall Author Of Sea Change

From my list on women at sea through history (including some pirates).

Who am I?

I picked these books because I love telling stories about bold women, and pirates float my boat. Being able to incorporate so much of history into my seafaring women, making them real and believable, makes writing that much more enjoyable. When I can incorporate real historical tidbits into my work it’s a good writing day, and I wanted to share my favorite research books with other readers. 

Darlene's book list on women at sea through history (including some pirates)

Darlene Marshall Why did Darlene love this book?

Joan Druett is the dean of authors writing about women at sea. Her books bring to life not only the pirates and transgressive women, but the wives and daughters of sea captains who sailed alongside their men and shared the ship’s command and the global adventures. When I want good, historical data I turn to Druett and the tidbits she incorporates into her writing bring dry historical figures to life.

By Joan Druett, Ron Druett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked She Captains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an innovative look at maritime history from the female perspective, Joan Druett introduces a remarkable array of characters and re-creates their adventures with a captivating immediacy and wit. There are 'pirate queens' armed with cutlasses and pistols who strike fear into the hearts of sailors. There are sea-loving women and women eager to be with the men they loved, who dress as men and join unsuspecting crews where they serve with honour and daring. The brave housekeepers and rescue workers are here too - including twenty year old Grace Darling, whose rescue of nine castaways in 1838 inspired a…


Book cover of Granuaile: Sea Queen of Ireland

Laura Sook Duncombe Author Of Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

From my list on discover the truth about women pirates.

Who am I?

I have loved pirates since my first viewing of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan at age 5. My passion for learning about these outlaws led me to discover the hidden stories of women pirates—who have always sailed alongside their male counterparts yet never get the same glory. When I learned about Cheng I Sao, the greatest pirate who ever lived (who was a woman), I was so angry that her story wasn’t more well-known that I wrote a book about it! It has been a joy and an honor to share the stories of pirate women with the world and I have fully embraced my title of “crazy pirate lady.”

Laura's book list on discover the truth about women pirates

Laura Sook Duncombe Why did Laura love this book?

Grace O’Malley was my first pirate love and will forever hold a special place in my heart. This is the seminal biography of her by the woman who basically singlehandedly brought her whole story to the world. Anne Chambers is one of my women pirate researcher heroines and her depth of knowledge on Grace is unmatched. This book reads like a novel and is packed with amazing tales. I have read this one many times!

By Anne Chambers, Deirdre O'Neill (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Granuaile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This children's book tells the story of a pirate queen who overcame the limitations of her gender and became a legend.


Book cover of Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors' Wives

Laura Nelson Author Of The Water Tiger

From my list on pirates (fact and fiction).

Who am I?

My interest in pirates began after attending the Real Pirates exhibit in Denver, Colorado, in 2011. All I can say now is that while I walked through the exhibit, I felt as though the pirates were personally speaking to me, asking me to tell the world their stories. I wrote several non-fiction articles about some of the men who sailed with Sam Bellamy on the Whydah Galley, the vessel featured in the exhibit. The writing and research were fun and fulfilling. In the last few years, I moved into fiction because I like reading fantasy myself and I wanted to explore the freedom of writing without having to document everything I wrote about.

Laura's book list on pirates (fact and fiction)

Laura Nelson Why did Laura love this book?

This book is for those who want to read verified facts about women during the age of wooden sail.

It is both entertaining and informative. For many of the chapters, the author gives you the “popular” tale, then tells you what really happened. It’s a good book for those who want to read about strong women, some of whom really did “go to sea,” during a period of time when women had few rights and few opportunities outside of the home.

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Seafaring Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, the sea has been regarded as a male domain, but in this illuminating historical narrative, maritime scholar David Cordingly shows that an astonishing number of women went to sea in the great age of sail. Some traveled as the wives or mistresses of captains; others were smuggled aboard by officers or seamen. And Cordingly has unearthed stories of a number of young women who dressed in men’s clothes and worked alongside sailors for months, sometimes years, without ever revealing their gender. His tremendous research shows that there was indeed a thriving female population—from pirates to the sirens of…


Book cover of Sea Queens: Woman Pirates Around the World

Laura Sook Duncombe Author Of Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

From my list on discover the truth about women pirates.

Who am I?

I have loved pirates since my first viewing of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan at age 5. My passion for learning about these outlaws led me to discover the hidden stories of women pirates—who have always sailed alongside their male counterparts yet never get the same glory. When I learned about Cheng I Sao, the greatest pirate who ever lived (who was a woman), I was so angry that her story wasn’t more well-known that I wrote a book about it! It has been a joy and an honor to share the stories of pirate women with the world and I have fully embraced my title of “crazy pirate lady.”

Laura's book list on discover the truth about women pirates

Laura Sook Duncombe Why did Laura love this book?

This is a picture book, but it’s absolutely lovely. Jane Yolen lends her considerable storytelling talent to this slim volume, which features both gorgeous illustrations of pirate women and bite-sized adaptations of their stories. This is a book I gift to most of the children in my life as a perfect introduction to the world of pirate women.

By Jane Yolen (, Christine Joy Pratt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sea Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1963 Jane Yolen released a book called PIRATES IN PETTICOATS, because the idea of women as pirates fascinated her--but there wasn't much information about these women who made their livelihoods plundering on the high seas. Scholars have dug up a bounty of new information since then, and Jane, still fascinated, revisits the ladies who loot.

Discover such great pirates as Artemisia, the Admiral Queen of Persia who sailed the seas from 500 to 480 BC. At one point there was a 10,000 drachma prize for anyone who could capture her. There was Rachel Wall, who ran away from her…


Book cover of Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

David Cordingly’s book is useful for its accurate and lively attempt to separate pirate facts from public fiction. He sifts through childhood tales of wooden legs and parrots to highlight the harsh realities experienced by most of these violent rogues. The tortures he describes serve to remind the reader that these were desperate times full of volatile career criminals. And the women were often as dangerous as their male counterparts! While considering Anne Bonny and Mary Read, he questions “Were there other women pirates?” and “How was it possible for a woman to pass herself off as a man in the cramped and primitive conditions on board an eighteenth-century ship?” These prompts helped me to focus on the issues my own female protagonist would have to overcome during her nautical adventures. I recommend this book because it is informative, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

By David Cordingly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Under the Black Flag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book sets out to discover the truth behind the stereotypical image of the pirate. Examining the rich literary and cultural legacy of piratical icons from Blackbeard to Captain Hook, the author compares the legends with their historical counterparts and comes up with some surprising conclusions. In a wider overview of the piracy myth, he explores its enduring and extraordinary appeal and assesses the reality behind the romance, answering in the process questions such as: why did men become pirates; were there any women pirates; how much money did they make from their plundering and looting; what effect did their…


Book cover of A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates

Wendy K. Perriman Author Of Fire on Dark Water

From my list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

My fascination with pirates began as a student in Bristol (UK) – the legendary hometown of Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard. Later, I visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum in the Bahamas and was amazed to learn there had been women buccaneers too. I wanted to discover more about these daring females and find out what might have enticed them to brave a tenuous life on the account. As fate would have it, I now live in North Carolina near the Outer Banks where Blackbeard met his fate. These experiences inspired me to write a different kind of adventure story about the real pirates of the Caribbean featuring a strong, resilient, swashbuckling female.

Wendy's book list on the real Pirates of the Caribbean

Wendy K. Perriman Why did Wendy love this book?

It was long thought that Captain Charles Johnson was a pseudonym for Daniel Defoe (of Robinson Crusoe fame), the original pirate novelist. As such, this anecdotal collection of seafaring tales may be as close to historical “primary source” material as we can get! A General History has inspired several generations of nautical poems, plays, and novels about life on the account, including Fire on Dark Water. Captain Johnson’s classic book undoubtedly raised public awareness about the lives and loves of many buccaneers and it is still a fascinating read today.

By Captain Charles Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1724-and now with an introduction and commentary by David Cordingly, best-selling author of the pirate classic Under the Black Flag-this famous account of the most notorious pirates of the day was an immediate success. Written by the mysterious Captain Johnson, it appeared in the book world at a time since described as the "Golden Age of Piracy" and vividly captures the realities of the savage seafaring existence-detailing specific events, including trials, of the day's most feared pirates. Indeed, this book has become the main source for scholars seeking to learn more about the female pirates Mary Read…


Book cover of On Stranger Tides

Set Sytes Author Of India Muerte And The Ship Of The Dead

From my list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved pirates and fantasy – combining the two is just wonderful in my eyes, cemented with my first watch of The Curse of the Black Pearl. It’s a struggle to identify exactly why these things appeal so much – I suppose my imagination and sense of free-wheeling roguish adventure runs wild. I’ve loved action-adventure and exploration since growing up watching the Indiana Jones films and playing Tomb Raider. The beloved genre of pirate fantasy seemed absurdly scarce within literature. I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read – so I had to write them, filling them with all the pirate fantasy staples I adored, twisting them, and adding entirely new creations.

Set's book list on making you want to be a pirate of the Caribbean

Set Sytes Why did Set love this book?

I must start, of course, with the quintessential pirate fantasy book.

Many might not be aware that the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film was loosely adapted from this 1987 novel by Tim Powers. Anybody who knows the genre and is asked for a pirate fantasy book most likely brings up this one first. It’s the clearest yet expression of a rarified genre, and something with few imitators.

Expect to be entertained with high-seas piracy, ship battles, jungles, dark voodoo, ghost ships, and zombies as you follow Jack Shandy on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard, played wonderfully by Ian McShane in the film, proves a foreboding antagonist with supernatural designs.

By Tim Powers,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked On Stranger Tides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award
Shortlisted for the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel

1718: Puppeteer John Chandagnac has set sail for Jamaica to recover his stolen inheritance, when his ship is seized by pirates. Offered the choice to join the crew, or be killed where he stands, he decides that a pirate's life is better than none at all.

Now known as Jack Shandy, this apprentice buccaneer soon learns to handle a mainsail and wield a cutlass - only to discover he is now a subject of a Caribbean pirate empire ruled by one Edward Thatch, better known…


Book cover of Tough Boris

E.B. Bartels Author Of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

From my list on teaching kids about pet death.

Who am I?

I’m someone who has had a lot of pets in my life––dogs, fish, birds, turtles, tortoises––which means I’m also someone who has had a lot of pets in my life die, because the worst thing about pets is they don’t live as long as we do. I spent ten years writing Good Grief, but really, I’ve been researching Good Grief my whole life, ever since my first pet died. This list includes some classics I loved when I was a kid, and some newer titles that I learned about while researching Good Grief. All are wonderful and will be a balm during a hard time.  

E.B.'s book list on teaching kids about pet death

E.B. Bartels Why did E.B. love this book?

This is another great picture book about the death of a non-dog/cat pet––in this Mem Fox classic, the pirate Tough Boris loses his dear pet parrot.

This book is especially wonderful though because it shows how even the toughest of tough guys––and Tough Boris is a tough pirate––can absolutely fall to pieces when a pet dies. It’s okay to cry about an animal dying––even if you are a pirate!

The really beautiful thing about this story though is seeing how Tough Boris copes with the loss through making friends with a stowaway boy on his ship, because if I’ve learned one thing from my pets dying, it’s that you need the support and love of other people to help you through the loss.

By Mem Fox, Kathryn Brown (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tough Boris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Boris von der Broch is a mean, greedy old pirate - tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? For when Boris'' parrot dies, the tough pirate is reduced to tears'


Book cover of Meet The Pirates

Gwyn McNamee Author Of Squall Line

From my list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies.

Who am I?

I’m a criminal defense attorney, mom, and wife who grew up along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and lived there for 35 years, staring out at the vast water of the “Inland Seas” aka The Great Lakes. Intrigued by pirates, the criminals of the water, and the stories of pirates roaming the lakes, when I began writing fiction, I absolutely had to write a modern pirate series set in the area where I grew up. I’ve read dozens and dozens of historical non-fiction books about pirates, watched all the classic films and shows about them, and have read pirate romances my entire life, so writing my own was the next logical step.

Gwyn's book list on fulfilling your pirate fantasies

Gwyn McNamee Why did Gwyn love this book?

This one is for all the parents out there. My five-year-old daughter absolutely adores all things pirate and we love James Davies’ book, Meet the Pirates. It gives historical information and background in a really bright and fun way that keeps kids interested in learning. My daughter was riveted when I was reading to her from this book, all about the background of the pirates, where they roamed the seas, where they settled, and about pirate ships. Even I learned a lot of interesting tidbits of information that I didn’t know. This is part of a series by James Davies that introduces kids to the Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians, too. 

By James Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meet The Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's so much to digest when it comes to History - how do you know where to begin? These incredible short introductions are just the thing for readers aged 6+ who are beginning to explore ancient history. Get to know the basics on Pirates from famous looters to scurvy and hygiene, with easy-to-digest, humorous text that is reminiscent of the bestselling Horrible Histories series. James Davies' stunning artwork and infographics provide a fresh nonfiction approach that is sure to captivate young readers.


Book cover of How I Became a Pirate

Diana Murray Author Of Unicorn Day: A Magical Kindness Book for Children

From my list on children’s books for talk like a pirate day.

Who am I?

I am the author of over twenty books for children, including National Bestseller Unicorn Day and the sequel, Unicorn Night: Sleep Tight, as well as Help Mom Work From Home!, Goodnight Veggies (a Jr. Library Guild Selection), and One Snowy Day. My poems have appeared in many anthologies and children’s magazines, such as Highlights and Spider. I grew up in New York City and still live nearby with my firefighter husband, two children, and a dancing dog.

Diana's book list on children’s books for talk like a pirate day

Diana Murray Why did Diana love 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.

By Melinda Long, David Shannon (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How I Became a Pirate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times bestseller illustrated by Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator David Shannon, a boy sets off on a pirate adventure—with surprising results!

When Braid Beard’s pirate crew invites Jeremy Jacob to join their voyage, he jumps right on board. Buried treasure, sea chanteys, pirate curses—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. But then Jeremy Jacob finds out what pirates don’t do. .…


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