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Pirate Books

pirate books

The best pirate stories and pirate children’s books

Discover a treasure trove of swashbuckling tales with our list of the best children’s books about pirates!

Featuring laugh-out-loud stories like Pirates Love Underpants alongside classics like Skeleton Crew, this list of children’s pirate stories has something for everyone. Sunk! and The Pirate Tree offer captivating stories of friendship, while children can learn their first anatomy facts in Give Me Back My Bones! or count along with Ten Little Pirates.

If you are looking for recommended pirate story books for children, this specially selected reading list for EYFS has got you covered…

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Recommended Children's Stories about Pirates

Giles Andreae
 & Russell Ayto

This super-popular picturebook that combines pirates, dinosaurs and plenty of action is always in high demand in the classroom.

While searching for some coloured pens to finish his dinosaur drawing at school, Flinn discovers Captain Stubble, a real pirate captain, in the art cupboard. Stubble informs Flinn that his ship, the Acorn, has been stolen, and he needs Flinn’s help to retrieve it. Flinn becomes the captain, and they set sail on an old pirate ship. However, they soon discover that the Acorn has been taken over by pirate dinosaurs! After a fierce battle, Captain Flinn and his crew regain control of the ship. They then return to the harbour undetected, sneaking back into the art cupboard …without the teacher realizing they were ever gone. We just love this brilliantly fun and imaginative picturebook that cries out to be read over and over again.

Nadia Shireen

We love opening Nadia Shireen’s picturebooks, as the illustrations and warm humour never fail to bring a smile to our faces. This adventure features Shireen’s popular character Billy and her trusty feline friend, Fatcat. The pair uncover a mysterious message in a bottle at sea and attempt to outwit a pesky pirate crew. Billy and Fatcat are no strangers to danger and as always they put to action their quick thinking and bravery to wiggle out of even the most perilous situation – whether it’s toffee-eating sharks, tricksy mermaids or pongy pirates.

There’ so much to love about these stories – pirates, adventure, bravery and plenty of giggles. The story balances action and suspense with humour and the characters are richly drawn. The book works as a standalone as well as part of the wider series, which we also recommend. This is a great ‘read it again’ choice for storytime with Year 2.

Cornelia Funke
 & Kasia Matyjaszek
Chapter book
Captain Firebeard has been destroying beautiful Monkey Skull Island and its inhabitants in his search for lost treasure. Molly Rogers - daughter of the famously fearsome pirate Barbarous Bertha - is not going to stand for Firebeard's antics any longer and soon embarks upon a pirate rescue mission of her own. A fun, swashbuckling adventure with vibrant illustrations.
Rob Biddulph
Penguin Blue is back, in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship from Rob Biddulph, the creative genius behind the #DrawWithRob phenomenon and the bestselling and award-winning Blown Away!A favourite Penguin and his friends are back in a new adventure, and this time they’re pirates – ARRRRR! Sailing the seven seas in search of treasure, Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly SUNK! But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all…
Peter Harris
 & Deborah Allwright
A much-loved adventure on the high seas from Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright. Perfect for every reader who loved Pirates Love Underpants and The Pirates Next Door.One night, young Tom is awoken by noises outside his house. He peeps out of the window and what should he see but PIRATES. And stranger still they’re GIRL PIRATES stealing the front of his house! Tom joins their adventure across the high seas to an island where some rather lazy and silly grown-up pirates are guarding their treasure. Not very successfully! Tom and the girl-pirates make a surprise attack and are soon off on the seas once more with the treasure!This swashbuckling pirate story from Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright has become a modern-day classic. Great fun to read-aloud and entertaining for both boys and girls, The Night Pirates is a bedtime story to inspire the imagination of kids aged 3 and up.

Funny Stories about Pirates

Allan Ahlberg
Skeleton Crew is one of the titles in Allan Ahlberg's iconic children's picture book series about skeletons, Funnybones. Despite being set in a dark dark house, this brightly coloured book is perfect for early readers!"Zzz!" The three skeletons enjoy a holiday on-board their little boat. But one night - "Yo-ho-ho" - the pirates come and put them out to sea on a tiny raft, launching them on an oceanful of new adventures.
John Condon
 & Matt Hunt

Every day Tom climbs to the top of a high hill and looks for pirate ships so that he can tell the villagers to go into hiding. The problem is that he keeps ringing his bell and shouting “PIRATES!” – but the vessels turn out not to be pirate ships. The villagers start to get tired of hiding, but what happens when one day a real pirate ship does arrive?

The Pirates are Coming is a fun new retelling of Aesop’s fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The repeated phrases with their implied actions and vocal expression means that this is a fun book to read with young children.

Matt Hunt’s lively and vibrant illustrations add an extra splash of humour to this pirate theme picturebook. The inventive ways in which the villagers hide are particularly funny.  The Pirates are Coming is a vibrant and fresh approach towards an old favourite cautionary tale.

Julia Donaldson
 & David Roberts
A laugh-out-loud pirate adventure from the stellar picture-book partnership of Julia Donaldson and David Roberts.The Troll longs for a juicy goat to eat – but he's stuck with boring old fish for supper. Bother! Meanwhile, Hank Chief and his pirate crew love fish, but without a decent recipe their slimy, soggy dinner is even worse. If only they could find their buried treasure and pay for a ship's cook . . . but it seems they've sailed to the wrong island. Again.Watch the fun unfold as two very different worlds collide in The Troll, a gloriously comic story from Julia Donaldson and David Roberts, the creators of the highly acclaimed Tyrannosaurus Drip.

Friendship Stories with Pirates

Brigita Orel
 & Jennie Poh
In the story, we meet Sam and Agu who bond over their adventures on a pirate ship – which is in actual fact a gnarled old tree at the top of a hill. As they battle sharks and other imaginary pirates together, Sam and Agu form a friendship that at first appears to be a little unlikely. They begin to understand that differences are something to be celebrated as there is so much more we can learn through diversity.

The Pirate Tree does a good job of challenging how we see people who appear different, encouraging the reader to think about how we can be more inclusive. When Agu first asks to play with Sam, she tells him that he can’t play because he’s new and not from her street. But in actual fact, Sam has a lot to learn about sailing from Agu who teaches her about his own background and experiences in Nigeria. There is so much that could be explored in the book; it would encourage some great discussions about how we see others and value diversity.

The book’s illustrations accompany the text superbly. The natural textures and patterns on each page make it a lovely book to read slowly so as to allow enough time to take in the details – such as the bow tie or top-hat-wearing fish!

 The Pirate Tree is a book that, like all great pirate stories, has a vast amount of hidden treasure under the surface.
Mark Bradley
Graphic Novel

A young graphic novel series, about two friendly ‘bugbops’ called Bumble and Snug.

This brightly illustrated story is lovely for Key Stage 1 to read independently. The characters are loveable, the story is fun and easy to follow and the comic strip style makes for a really fun read. There are oodles of fun moments to enjoy, from picnics and pirates to jelly and a giant octopus.

Visual readers new to the graphic novel format will find this a real treat.


Jonny Duddle
The Jolley-Rogers - a pirate family, are moving to Dull-on-Sea, a quiet seaside town. Stopping to fix up their ship, this unusual family get the whole neighbourhood spreading rumours. Defying the grown-ups, Matilda from next door decides to become friends with the youngest pirate son. When the Jolley-Rogers leave, the town discovers they were wrong to assume the worst - the pirate clan have buried treasure in everyone's gardens (shown in a stunning double-gatefold). Matilda feels sad until she discovers her own treasure - an incredibly exciting new pen friend.
Ronda Armitage
 & Holly Swain
Shiver me timbers!' Pirate Jed is not happy . . . Imagine a pirate who feels seasick all the time. That's Pirate Jed! Fed up with bobbing around on the rollicking, rolling sea, he decides to pack up his pirate paraphernalia and heads off in search of a home on land. His adventures take him on a journey where he meets a whole cast of animal characters, desperate for his help, and they all join in his search for a new home. Finally they meet Farmer Ted who is fed up with life on dry land – so he and Jed decide to swap! So, with a cheeriyo-ho-ho, Pirate Jed and his new friends have a perfect new home! A gentle adventure about friendship, fun and finding your place.

Counting and Rhyming Pirate Stories

Kim Norman
 & Bob Kolar
A pirate skeleton seeks to put its bones back together in this rhyming first book of anatomy! A stormy night at sea has uncovered some long-buried secrets and surprises. Is that the mast of a shipwreck? A faded pirate hat? And what's that hiding in the sand? A mandible and a clavicle, phalanges and femurs, a tibia and a fibula - could there be a complete set of bones scattered across the ocean floor? And who might they belong to? A jaunty rhyme takes readers on an underwater scavenger hunt as a comical skeleton tries to put itself back together piece by piece. Make no bones about it - this rollicking read-aloud will have young ones learning anatomy without even realising.
Mike Brownlow
 & Simon Rickerty
Count along with the Ten Little Pirates in this action-packed, counting rhyme adventure!The Ten Little Pirates are sailing out to sea ... But what will the Ten Little Pirates do when they meet a singing mermaid? And a whooshing hurricane? And a HUNGRY shark?Part traditional counting rhyme, part fun-filled story, Ten Little Pirates is perfect for sharing together. Read the bouncy rhyming story. Count from ten to one and back again, as the Little Pirates disappear then reappear. Spot and count the details on each page. And join in with all the great sound-words!
Tracey Corderoy
 & Steven Lenton
The detective dogs are back for a swashbuckling pirate adventure!Shifty and Sam have swapped their life of crime for a career in cupcakes. But when they're asked to bake for a pirate party, they find themselves caught up in the middle of a robbery. Uh-oh! Captain Sharpwhiskers and his criminal crew have stolen Captain Chucklebeard's treasure! Can Shifty and Sam catch those BAD pirates and bring back the loot? Find out in this hilarious, rhyming picture book adventure!

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