Pirate topic books are a great way to instil history, geography, language, narrative story and fun into a primary literacy planning block or class teacher-led scheme of work. These books have been selected for children in KS1 and KS2 and include a range of fiction, nonfiction and poetry suitable for classroom use, learning at home and as a resource for research or the school library. Authors include James Davies, Celia Rees, Neil Gaiman, Lindsay Eagar, Derek Keilty, Cornelia Funke, and Philip Ardagh.
Our recommended pirate books for children in KS1 and KS2
Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt
When an evil Pirate King with dark magical powers turns up and sails away with all the boys, he doesn’t factor in high spirited Tiggy who wants them all back, and especially her little brother. This refreshing modern legend blends strong female characters with a fast-paced plot, emotion, and memorable battles on the high seas. A great summer term class reader for years 4 and 5.
Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl (Acorn Readers) by Cornelia Funke
This new dyslexia-friendly edition of Cornelia Funke’s pirate story is the perfect blend of anarchic storytelling, quick-fire dialogue and a shipshape satisfying ending. Edited to a reading age of 6, this short text is perfect for reluctant readers in years 2-5. There’s also lots to look at in the exceptional illustrations. Keen-eyed younger readers will notice the quirky details such as the pink pirate teddy bear, florescent ship’s parrot and mischievous mouse. There will be plenty of opportunities to incorporate this book into pirate-themed literacy and art topic work.
Meet the Pirates by James Davies
There’s fun on every page in this fact-laden history of pirates, from Viking times to the Golden Age of Piracy ending in 1720. Also featured are fascinating insights into pirate life, plunder, weapons, food, dress, and famous pirate men and women. This book is ideal as a topic book resource for research, and also a great addition to KS2 non-fiction libraries.
Pirates! by Celia Rees
An eye-opening tale of Nancy and Minerva, two young women from opposite ends of society, running away from the lives ordained for them. Nancy feels from an arranged marriage and Minerva from a life of slavery. Together, they break away from their restrictions, to find a life of piracy and adventure. Suitable for more mature pupils in year 6 upwards.
Pirate Diary by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell
Carpenter’s apprentice Jake sets sail in 1716 for a life on the high seas, but all does not go to plan – as he records in his diary. His ship is captured by pirates and a great adventure begins. With accurate maps, illustrations and a fascinating glossary, children can read and discover his life on the ocean waves.
Pirates by Catriona Clarke
All you ever wanted to know (and perhaps a lot you didn’t want to know) about the lives of pirates. Find out who they were, where they sailed, how they lived and what happened to them when they were caught. Easy to read and informative, this book is ideal for KS2.
Pirateology by Dugald Steer
A magical book to enthral any child reader. The compass on the cover begins the journey of adventure, together with a treasure map, a bag of gold dust, pieces of eight and more! Experience the trials of Captain Lubber who sails the oceans to track down the elusive pirate Arabella Drummond. Can you find the missing piece of the treasure map?
The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth by Eoin Colfer
Not much scares brothers Will and Marty Woodman until they visit a small seaside town famous for its frightening ghost. This is a gripping and fast paced mystery with atmosphere and eerieness – perfect for LKS2 reading groups.
Grace Darling by Anita Ganeri
An age-appropriate textbook aimed at KS2 reluctant readers. The illustrated book follows the true story of what happened in 1938 when a young Grace helped her lighthouse keeper father rescue stranded and shipwrecked people from rocks in the teeth of a storm. The story of Grace Darling inspired artist Frank Lund to build a pirate ship made from driftwood collected on the Wirral, a project that could provide a great starting point for KS2 art topics.
Piratepedia by Niehaus Alisha
All you could ever want to know about the world’s most infamous pirates. Travel back into the world of piracy with maps, tall tales and gruesome facts. An absorbing read for children in KS2.
Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
All aboard for the trip of a lifetime! Say the rhyme, make the stew and become a pirate! Impassible ships and glorious feasts are all told in this gripping rhyming narrative, enhanced dramatically by the fantastic illustrations. A magical pirate book for children in KS2.
Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince by Liz Kessler
In this, the eighth of a series, Emily finds herself involved with treasure hunting pirates. Desperate to rescue Aaron, she joins forces with a pirate crew, intent of depriving baddies of success in their quest for riches. Will Emily and Sam solves the challenges, in a race to find the treasure?
Pirates (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary
A classic addition to the Horrible Histories series. Read about all the really nasty pirates, learn to speak like a pirate, and discover how awful life on board a ship really was.
Ten Little Pirates by Mike Brownlow
A wonderful board book for younger children to enjoy listening to, explore the illustrations and join in with the catchy rhymes and counting. There are plenty of opportunities to practice super sounds and perfect an authentic pirate accent. Arrr!
Flyntlock Bones: The Sceptre of the Pharaohs by Derek Keilty and Mark Elvins
Flynn unexpectedly finds himself thrust into a world of pirates, dark magic, unforgettable characters and rapid page turning action. A rollicking good read. The fast pace and fun illustrations combine to make this ideal for reluctant readers in years 5&6.
My Granny Is a Pirate by Val McDermid
A swashbuckling tale for all pirate fans to enjoy. Follow Granny’s adventures as she sails the seven seas, terrifies other pirates and sings sea shanties to her dog, Jolly Roger. Amazingly, she’s always home in time for tea! Beautifully illustrated by Arthur Robins. A wonderful pirate story read for younger children.
Help! The Pirate Has Lost His Shipmates! by Help Books
Can you help the pirate to find his 16 shipmates who are hiding? A very clever ‘Where’s Wally’ style that will keep 2-5 year old children engaged looking for the concealed pirates.
The Pirate Captain’s Cat by Philip Ardagh
Furry Purry Beancat seems to be an ordinary cat – except when she wakes up from a nap and finds herself in the middle of a great adventure. Sailing with her shipmates on a pirate ship can the beat a nasty enemy crew? The perfect pirate story class reader for year 2 or 3.
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar
A heart-pumping adventure story about a young inventor called Fidelia. and her kidnapping by the evil pirate Merrick the Monstrous. Chased by the navy, Fidelia and the pirates race to find Merrick’s sunken treasure. But is all as it seems?
The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate by Margaret Mahy
Sam has quite a boring life, that is until he finds out his mother used to be a pirate. One day, after breakfast, he sets off on an unforgettable adventure. A favourite book for younger children, this story is a laugh out loud funny text for reading in storytime.
Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke
Captain Firebeard of the Horrible Haddock doesn’t realise that he has made a terrible mistake when he kidnaps Molly. She refuses to be frightened by him and his crew when they threatened to feed her to the sharks. Why? Because only Molly knows that her mother is the fiercest and bravest pirate on the oceans – and Firebeard is doomed to failure.
Pirate’s Handbook by Sam Taplin
If you yearn to be a pirate, this book is essential reading. Including how to speak the pirate language, dodge cannonballs, survive howling gales and avoid nasty diseases, this book will appeal to children in KS2. It’s also full of details about the hardships endured – life on board was not all battles and bounty.
Treasure Island by Henry Brook
An up the minute retelling of the classic story and particularly suitable for class reading in lower KS2. Get caught up in the mystery of the treasure map and set sail with Jim Hawkins to Treasure Island. But beware of the wicked pirates and the strange Long John Silver!
Pirate fancy dress hats and eye patches
Avast ye! Dress like buccaneers with these three-piece hat and eye patch sets. Arghhh!
Novelty pirate treasure chest
Blow me down, it’s a long lost coffer for plundered pieces of eight, loot or KS1&2 pirate topic books. Helpful for keeping the class ship-shape and Bristol fashion.
Pirate resources for EYFS, KS1 and KS2
- Royal Museums Greenwich pirate sea stories (including videos, downloadable research guides, and links), and pirate biographies.
- The Pirate Game – a great maths linked activity suitable for KS2.
- DK interactive history of pirates.
- BBC Teach KS1 PE – dance like a pirate and pirate songs.
To buy all the books in this pirate books topic book list, see our bulk order page.
Do you need more exciting book choices? – Have a look at our year 1 reading list
or our year 2 reading list page
Please respect copyright and don’t copy or reproduce our pirate books for children reviews. Sharing on social media or linking to our site’s pages is fine. Thanks.