September 19th marks International Talk Like a Pirate Day. In addition to talking and dressing like pirates, if you would like to read like a pirate, here are some great swashbuckling young adult titles!
Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
This is an origin story for Blackbeard the pirate. Edward “Teach” Drummond loves the ocean and can’t wait to return to it. Anne has been recently orphaned and, without any money to her name, is forced to find work in the Drummond home. Teach and Anne both must decide whether they will play the roles society has given them or set off to follow their dreams.
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer
This first book in a series of twelve follows the story of Jacky Faber who, as the title suggests, disguises herself as a boy and serves aboard a pirate ship.
Boston Jane by Jennifer Holm
Jane Peck has been trained to be a lady, but when she sails to the western United States to wed her betrothed, she finds that her training did not prepare her for a life at sea or the adventures of the wild west.
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
Emer was a teenage pirate in the 17th century and was cursed to live one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body. Now she’s an American teenager and she wants to find the treasure she buried long ago.
Pirates! by Celia Rees
Nancy, the daughter of a rich merchant, and Minerva, a former slave, escape their lives by joining a pirate crew.
Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl’s Adventure Upon the High Seas by Tanith Lee
Art is a boarding school student, and a nasty bump to her head brings back memories of a life at sea when she was young. She tries to recreate this pirate life, but runs into a few bumps along the way.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
While Goldman’s classic tale is not exclusively focused on pirates, the Dread Pirate Roberts does play an important role in this story.
Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Jill loves fencing, but when she picks up a piece of steel on a beach, she never expects to be transported back in time to a pirate ship. How will she get back to her own time, and will she survive long enough to do that?
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
There have been many movie and book reboots of this classic title, but some teens may really enjoy the original story of Jim Hawkins and may be encouraged to read other classic works as well.
The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence
John Spencer, the youngest member of the pirate crew, is the only one to survive the shipwreck. Unfortunately, his ship crashed near a community that thrives off the treasures washed ashore after shipwrecks. Will he be able to escape these land pirates?
What pirate stories have you loved that should be added to this list?
—Jenni Frencham, currently reading Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum