The most recommended pirate books

Who picked these books? Meet our 106 experts.

106 authors created a book list connected to Pirates, and here are their favorite Pirate books.
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Book cover of Pirate's Perfect Pet

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

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

By Beth Ferry, Matt Myers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate's Perfect Pet 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?

Ahoy! Pirates, pets, and puns run amok as a sea captain takes off on a mad search for the perfect animal sidekick.

Big, brave Captain Crave can check off most items on the Perfect Pirate checklist. He has a pirate ship, an eye patch, courage and daring, and more. Only one thing is missing: Captain Crave doesn't have a pet. Arrr! Shuck me an oyster and set sail for land! The captain and his crew race and chase critters of every size and shape, from the beach to a farm to the zoo to a pet shop, causing a commotion…


Book cover of Swallows and Amazons

Katie Munnik Author Of The Aerialists

From my list on characters who assume new names.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was named after my father’s aunt, who moved from Canada to Switzerland in the 1920s to join a travelling church. Family lore remembers she rode a bicycle in the mountains and when she was dying, her sisters sent her maple leaves in the mail to remind her where she started. As a child, I was fascinated by this mysterious other Katie. Why did my father choose her name for me? Would I be like her? Did I get to choose? As a novelist, I love choosing names. Their power is subtle but strong, and when a writer gives a character more than one name, new layers emerge and stories bloom.

Katie's book list on characters who assume new names

Katie Munnik Why did Katie love this book?

I first read Swallows and Amazons lying on my belly beside a swimming pool while my little brother splashed through his lessons. I was caught by the inventive adventuring, the sailing and camping and the sheer—parentless!—freedom of the Walker and Blackett children. And most of all, I loved Nancy Blackett, whose real name was Ruth but changed it because everyone knows the Amazon pirates are ruthless. I’ve since read it with my own children, and the magic continues, though these days, I have more sympathy with the mother who, looking for some quiet, thought to pack her kids off to camp by themselves on an island. 

I should point out the second assumed name in this story. Ransom really did know children who sailed small boats in the Lake District, and one of the boats really was called Swallow—and the other one was Mavis. Hardly a good name for pirates!

By Arthur Ransome,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Swallows and Amazons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The ultimate children's classic - long summer days filled with adventure.

John, Susan, Titty and Roger sail their boat, Swallow, to a deserted island for a summer camping trip. Exploring and playing sailors is an adventure in itself but the island holds more excitement in store. Two fierce Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy, challenge them to war and a summer of battles and alliances ensues.

'My childhood simply would not have been the same without this book. It created a whole world to explore, one that lasted long in the imagination after the final page had been read' - Marcus…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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. .…


Sea Change

By Darlene Marshall,

Book cover of Sea Change

Darlene Marshall Author Of Sea Change

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Romance Reader Regency Romance Fan History Buff SF & Fantasy Fan

Darlene's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean, what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best or he’ll be walking the plank.

Charley Alcott’s medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley’s life as well as the patient’s. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay—and maybe a plank to walk—when Captain Fletcher learns Charley…

Sea Change

By Darlene Marshall,

What is this book about?

High Seas, #1

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.

Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the pirate's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher…


Book cover of Airborn

Jonathon Mast Author Of Stones and Swords

From my list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved cartoons growing up. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Thundercats? Gargoyles? All favorites. But so many of the cartoons never changed anything. There were never any real stakes. (Except for Gargoyles. I fell in love with that show because of its continuity!) I hungered for books where things mattered, where the main characters did things that changed from book to book. Give me adventures that change the world! Well, I found some of those books. Here are stories where the main characters are kids. And now I get to enjoy these same stories with my kids! 

Jonathon's book list on fantasy adventure for middle grade readers

Jonathon Mast Why did Jonathon love this book?

Matt serves as a cabin boy on an airship when he encounters a man who claims there are creatures that fly and never touch the ground…

This book is pure fun and adventure. Looking for amazing creatures? Real stakes and human conflict? A likable main character? You’ve got it all here. I particularly loved the work the author put into creating an entire ecosystem of creatures that live so far up in the sky that we never see them on the ground! 

By Kenneth Oppel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Airborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Matt Cruse is cabin boy aboard the Aurora, an airship which truly is lighter than air. Since the discovery of hydrium, a gas that renders even the heaviest vehicle as light as a feather, airships travel all over the world in the same way as planes do today. Matt himself was born on an airship and it is there that he feels most at home. Matt has high hopes for promotion to junior sailmaker on this voyage - until Kate de Vries, one of the wealthy passengers, arrives on the scene. She's feisty and brave, and won't let social distinctions…


Book cover of Barbary Station

J. S. Fields Author Of Ardulum: First Don

From my list on space lesbians.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my day job I’m a professor in a hard science and, unsurprisingly, a lesbian. I love sapphic fiction, especially speculative sapphic fiction, but it can be hard to find as the books are seldom labeled as such. Because I write in this genre I’ve been able to ferret out a lot of them, and have made it a mini mission to read as many as possible. I’m particularly drawn to those that get science right (bad science to a science professor is like nails on a chalk board), and those that have at least a little bit of kissing.

J.'s book list on space lesbians

J. S. Fields Why did J. love this book?

Straddling the line between space opera and military sci-fi, Barbary Station scratches the itch for those who like their space lesbians already in a relationship, and just focusing on the adventure. Recent college graduates Adda and Iridian have a ton of student debt and real jobs just aren’t going to pay the bills. Hence they turn to piracy (of course), and things get sticky, fast, when the space station they are on starts to crumble apart, and killer AIs come after them.

There aren’t a lot of sapphic space books where the main pair are already together. Watching a married couple navigate a more mature relationship while still battling aliens and technology is a refreshing take, and one that will definitely appeal to older sci-fi fans.

By R. E. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two engineers hijack a spaceship to join some space pirates-only to discover the pirates are hiding from a malevolent AI. Now they have to outwit the AI if they want to join the pirate crew-and survive long enough to enjoy it.

Adda and Iridian are newly minted engineers, but aren't able to find any work in a solar system ruined by economic collapse after an interplanetary war. Desperate for employment, they hijack a colony ship and plan to join a famed pirate crew living in luxury at Barbary Station, an abandoned shipbreaking station in deep space.

But when they arrive…


Book cover of Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Price Of Freedom

Teresa Howard Author Of Aldebar Home

From my list on classic science fiction and fantasy that changed my life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the sixties and loved all things science fiction when it was at its peak. Being a voracious reader, I spent many days in the local library. I wanted to learn how to be good enough to get my books there. I was encouraged by friends and began studying writing at workshops and conventions. There, I met many of my favorite authors, including Anne McCaffery, Orson Scott Card, Lois McMaster Bujold, and A. C. Crispin. I also met scientists and actors. Critique groups honed my craft and expanded my appreciation of books. I learned to read and write outside my comfort zone.

Teresa's book list on classic science fiction and fantasy that changed my life

Teresa Howard Why did Teresa love this book?

This book is not from the age of classic SF. However, it and the author perhaps taught me more about writing than any other book. They literally saved my life.

The novel was written for Disney and the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. I was introduced to A. C. Crispin (Ann) at DragonCon. I marveled at her ability to jump into a world and write great stories there. I learned so much about the craft and business of writing from her. The opening advice she gave at her workshops. “Money should flow from the publisher to the author, not the other way around.”

While battling cancer and dying, Ann reached out to me, knowing that I was a diabetic, and warned me to get off a dangerous drug.

By A.C. Crispin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twenty-five-year-old Jack Sparrow is a clean-cut merchant seaman pursuing a legitimate career as a first mate for the East India Trading Company. He sometimes thinks back to his boyhood pirating days, but he doesn’t miss Teague’s scrutiny or the constant threat of the noose. Besides, he doesn’t have much choice—he broke the Code when he freed a friend who had been accused of rogue piracy, and he can no longer show his face in Shipwreck Cove.
When Jack’s ship is attacked by pirates and his captain dies in the altercation, he suddenly finds himself in command. The wily sailor’s skillful…


Book cover of Pirates

Virginia Chandler Author Of The Devil's Treasure: The Complete Tale

From my list on pirates, history, and legend.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m not a real pirate, at least not most of the time, but as a kid, I wanted to be one. I was firmly in love with the romantic “Robin Hood” type legends of the pirate kings. As an adult, the love for all things pirate became a fascination with the pirate archetype, pirate history, and pirate legend. But, honestly, for me, it’s the mystery. There are so many mysteries involving pirates: Where did they hide their treasure? Was there a secret pirate kingdom called Libertalia? Were there pirate curses? This prompted me to research and write The Devil’s Treasure, inspired by the need to know, the need to solve, the need to conquer. 

Virginia's book list on pirates, history, and legend

Virginia Chandler Why did Virginia love this book?

This is a beautifully illustrated and well-presented book that covers everything pirate from slang to weapons. It’s a gorgeous book, cover to cover, with detailed pirate history and fun pirate myths. This one is an easier read with beautiful illustrations and memorabilia. This title absolutely belongs on ye olde pirate bookshelf.

By John Matthews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Ever wanted to be a pirate? Sign the contract that comes with this book and you'll be ready to sail the high seas. There's even a pirate slang dictionary, to help you talk the talk as you walk the plank. With detailed biographies of legendary pirates plus features on their weapons, codes of conduct and punishments, Pirates delivers a thrilling portrait of life at sea in a bygone age - a story rich in colour, intrigue and adventure. Documents include a guide to pirate weaponry, a guide to their bloodthirsty flags, wanted posters, and the grisly notice of a death…


Book cover of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

J.D. Blackrose Author Of Demon Kissed

From my list on Great romantasy books that aren’t by Sarah J. Maas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about this because I write romantasy too, and so do many other wonderful authors. Sarah J. Maas is a legend in the Romantasy genre, and she’s prolific, so there’s a lot to read with her various series. But, if you’ve finished with her books and are looking for more, there are plenty of authors out there doing amazing, spine-tingling, dare I say loin-tingling work, and we should celebrate them. Besides, no matter how prolific Ms. Maas is, readers will always finish books faster than even she can write them.

J.D.'s book list on Great romantasy books that aren’t by Sarah J. Maas

J.D. Blackrose Why did J.D. love this book?

What? You didn’t know there was a book? There is! Now, the movie is, in my humble opinion, the most perfect movie ever made, but the book came first.

I read the book ages ago and fell in love with it. More in-depth than the movie and a little different in places, it is worth the read, and if you want to follow up with a small, equally as fun read, try The Silent Gondoliers, also by Goldman.

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Princess Bride as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

William Goldman’s beloved story of Buttercup, Westley, and their fellow adventurers.

This tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts was unforgettably depicted in the 1987 film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Fred Savage, Robin Wright, and others. But, rich in character and satire, the novel boasts even more layers of ingenious storytelling. Set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin, home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Pirates Are Coming!

Charlotte Gunnufson Author Of Prince and Pirate

From my list on perfectly piratey storytimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of funny-bone tickling and heartwarming picture books, Halloween Hustle and Prince and Pirate. My newest book, Dream Submarine, is a lyrical bedtime story that blends fiction and nonfiction and invites young readers on a journey through the world's oceans (Candlewick, 2024). Language Arts teacher turned writer, I'm passionate about literacy and love visiting schools and libraries to connect with my favorite people—kids!  My books and all the perfectly piratey tales on this list are best when read aloud!

Charlotte's book list on perfectly piratey storytimes

Charlotte Gunnufson Why did Charlotte love this book?

I adore this piratey parody of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." As a parent and former teacher, I’ve had the privilege of reading to kids for decades. This picture book is ideal for a giggly good storytime. I especially appreciate how the refrain “The pirates are coming! Quick! Everybody hide!” builds suspense (and silliness!) and creates lots of opportunities for kids to make predictions about what sort of ship is actually out on the horizon. Clever and comedic illustrations amp up the fun.

By John Condon, Matt Hunt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pirates Are Coming! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

A hilarious retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with not one but TWO twists!

Tom has a VERY important job; every day he climbs to the top of the hill and watches for pirate ships. But when he rings his bell and shouts "PIRATES!" a few too many times - and there's NO pirate ship - the villagers begin to get tired of hiding. So what will happen when the pirates really do show up?

Repeated phrases make it easy and fun for young adventurers to join in with the storytelling, and witty, bold artwork by Matt Hunt adds…