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Ahoy there! Justin Somper, author of the Vampirates series, has picked top five recommended children's books about pirates.  

Justin says, "The idea for “VAMPIRATES” came to me very simply - and thrillingly - when the word “VAMPIRATES” just landed in my head one day. Cue tingles down the spine, excitement, nerves, impostor syndrome etc… As things settled down, I realised I’d been “given” an amazing idea… to combine two beloved story worlds in one. Neither of which I knew very much about! So I embarked on a phase of research – looking into pirate history and vampire myth, on the hunt for intriguing factoids and maybe even nascent connections between the two. I made a conscious decision NOT to read pirate fiction or vampire fiction at that point. And, indeed, that remained the rule while I was immersed in writing each book in order to keep my vision unclouded. Since bringing the six-book sequence to a conclusion, I have relaxed that rule a little, to dip my toe in the waters and see how other writers are creatively embracing the swashbuckling world of piracy. Here are a few of my favourites..."

Children's books about pirates: Peter Pa
Peter Pan
J M Barrie

From the lost boys to the mischievous mermaids and madcap swagger of Captain Hook, there’s so much I love about this book. But what gets me most, every time, is the heart-breaking ending – the disconnect between Peter and Wendy now that she is grown-up and he never will be. I’ve tried to capture something of that painful disconnect in the relationship between my mortal and vampire characters.

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The Pirates of Scurvy Sands
Jonny Duddle

When I’m asked to recommend pirate books for younger readers, I always cite talented author/illustrator Jonny Duddle and his Jolley-Rogers series. Filled with Jonny’s trademark humour in the story and art, this title had me at “scurvy”!

Children's Books about pirates: Mabel Jo
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones
Will Mabbitt & Ross Collins

A fresh and funny take on the pirate adventure for young readers from talented Mabbitt. Mabel Jones is kidnapped and forced to serve aboard pirate ship 'The Feroshus Maggot', captained by the – brilliantly named - wolf Idryss Ebenezer Split. The first in a page-turning series of adventures featuring the sparky heroine.

Children's books about pirates The edge
The Edge Chronicles: The Last of the Sky Pirates
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

The first book of the Rook Saga – a trilogy within the wonderful Edge Chronicles – follows the fortunes of Rook Barkwater, who breaks out of the sewer-chambers of Undertown to journey to the Free Glades and an encounter with the mysterious last sky pirate. A deeply satisfying fantasy adventure from two master storytellers.

Celia Rees

Everything Celia Rees writes is worth reading.  This is the sparkling, swashbuckling tale of two young women, from vastly differing backgrounds, who meet in the West Indies in the 18th century and become pirates and comrades in adventure.

Justin Somper

Justin's own pirate themed series, Vampirates, was first published in 2005 and became instant international bestsellers. Now given a new drop of life by UCLan Publishing, with new content, artwork and a fresh sensitivity read, this white-knuckle series is brought to a new generation of young readers.

Vampirates starts with twins Grace and Connor who become separated at sea and are rescued by two very different ships. But where Connor finds himself in the hands of pirates eager to train a new recruit, Grace finds herself aboard a ship with a very unusual crew, who are waiting for the sun to set before deciding her fate...

Free and downloadable resources for schools are also available on the author's website.

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