Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me!

Blackbeard.  Captain Jack Sparrow. Henry Morgan. Long John Silver. Anne Bonny. Captain Hook.

Do you know which of these famous pirates were real? Pirates have long held a fascination for both boys and girls, and the following recent elementary titles should prove to be very popular.

Young landlubbers will learn about pirates and pirate ships, from hoisting the anchor and searching for booty to “X” marks the spot and exploring the wild blue yonder on a gentle zephyr in An ABC of Pirates. The artwork is lively, and so is the rhyming text.  In addition, this book is a search-and-find, with each page filled with other items—not necessarily pirate-related—that start with the featured letter.  All of these items are listed in the back of the book, along with a glossary.

Pirate’s Guide to First Grade is a great read-aloud, but make sure that you practice before going live, because it is told entirely in pirate lingo.  A young boy (and his imaginary crew of pirates and obligatory parrot) wakes up for his first day of school, “shined me snappers” (brushed his teeth), and races for the school bus, shouting, “Prepare to be boarded!”  After a day of counting and spelling and story-time and recess with his mateys, he tells the teacher that school “’twas good enough for lubbers, I suppose. But where’s me treasure?”  The wise teacher sends him to the library!

It’s boys versus girls in Pirate vs. Pirate : The Terrific Tale of a Big Blustery Maritime Match.  Bad Bart is the baddest boy pirate in the Atlantic, and Mean Mo is the meanest girl pirate in the Pacific.  And when they meet, there’s nothing for it but to fight to see who is the best—er, worst pirate in the world.  But, in contest after contest, from climbing the mast to swimming with sharks to throwing cannonballs, their efforts end in a tie.  Finally, while trying to stare each other down, they look into each other’s eyes…and fall in love.  This book will be a fun read-aloud.

Now, I am a sucker for picture books, but my boys would have complained, “Mom, read something REAL.”  So here are two fact-filled books that should satisfy those nonfiction lovers.  From the Truth and Rumors series by Edge Books, Pirates : Truth and Rumors uses a question-and-answer format to help readers figure out how to tell the difference between what is fact and fiction about pirates.

And for those readers drawn to nasty and gross titles, hand them The Crude, Unpleasant Age of Pirates : The Disgusting Details.  After reading about the cramped quarters, moldy food, and treacherous life at sea, they might be more appreciative of school lunches and homework!

For more pirate titles for readers of all ages, see our Hot Topics: Pirates! list on Mackin.com.

And I just can’t resist—here’s my older son, Alex, ready for trick-or-treating when he was four.  He first became enamored with pirates after watching Disney’s Peter Pan.


An ABC of Pirates by Caroline Stills. 2010.

The Crude, Unpleasant Age of Pirates : The Disgusting Details by Christopher Forest. 2011.

Pirate vs. Pirate : The Terrific Tale of a Big Blustery Maritime Match  by Mary Quattlebaum. 2011.

Pirate’s Guide to First Grade by James Preller. 2010.

Pirates : Truth and Rumors by Sean Stewart Price. 2011.

Blogger: Tracey L