Avast, me hearties! September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Enjoy this treasure trove of our finest picture books and storytime favorites regarrrrding these fearsome foes!
By Kelly DiPucchio
This is a storyteller favorite for engaging imaginations of the preschool age set. A crew of cuddly animals encounters a giant squid, a storm, and swashbuckling skeletons on their journey to find treasure. With repeated phrases (making it fun for kids to join in) and opportunities for movement and participation, kids will love this sweet, exciting adventure.
By Mem Fox
Mem Fox is always a favorite author in picture books! In this book, a young boy in Boris von der Borch’s crew steals a unique treasure from his captain: a violin. Most of the storytelling is done through the illustrations. Since the book is very text-light, it’s a short read. It’s fun to go back through and see what details you notice in the pictures and practice “reading” the clues in the illustrations.
By Neil Gaiman
This book is a rollicking good time. A pirate crew babysits two children on their parents’ night out and cooks up a delicious stew that’s supposed to turn you into a pirate. The illustrations have so much detail and even the background characters are packed with personality. This has lots of piratey jargon so it’s probably best for elementary age kids rather than litles. I’m way older than the intended audience but this absolutely sparked my imagination!
By Kim Norman
A pirate skeleton hunts about the ocean floor for all his missing bones. While this book has bouncy text and fun sea-faring lingo, it’s also a useful primer on teaching the different bones in the human skeleton. The illustrations are kid-friendly and not-too-scary, exploring an ocean floor teeming with a variety of fish and nautical objects like a spyglass, compass, anchor, etc.
By Kari-Lynn Winters
Another book with ingenious illustrations! All of the pirate characters are depicted as various breeds of dogs. Captain Barnacle is frustrated with his adorable daughter Augusta for being “too good” and sweet for his pirate crew. After Augusta’s brave actions helps the ship weather a storm though, the captain has a change of heart. Between Captain Barnacle and Augusta’s dialogue, this is a fun book for trying out different voices for each characters (and practicing your pirate voice, arrrgh!).
By Meg Fleming
This one is more about sailors than pirates, but the characters sail on an old-fashioned wooden sloop, so it still inspires a similar charm. The illustrations are vibrant and cartoonishly cute with a turtle and tiger setting off on a sailing adventure. The text is simple and includes words that describe various parts of the vessel—so even as an adult I felt like I learned some nautical vocab that would be useful in my piratical lingo toolkit.
By Jarrett Krosoczka
“Yo ho, Yo ho, it’s off to the bath we go!” Two brothers play pirates during bathtime. I love any book that spotlights playing pretend and building those fun relationships with siblings and parents. The ending is cute and silly with the brothers finding their own treasure: ice cream from the freezer!
Written by Molly, Assistant Children’s Librarian