International Talk Like A Pirate Day (ITLAPD) is Saturday, September 19th. What began as a small-scale celebration of pirate loving pals, ITLAPD garnered national attention when columnist, Dave Barry endorsed John Bauer's and Mark Summers' swashbucklin' good idea in his syndicated newspaper column in 2002. Thirteen years later, the celebration continues!

If you'd like to celebrate ITLAPD, here is a list of pirate picture books and easy readers for you and your wee mutineers to enjoy!

How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon is one of my family's favorite books. And the first line is one of the best ever written - "Pirates have green teeth when they have any teeth at all." So begins the adventure of Jeremy Jacob. After encountering Braid Beard on the beach, Jeremy accepts the pirate captain's invitation to join his crew. But when Jeremy finds out that pirates don't get bedtime stories, Jeremy reconsiders his decision. Shannon's expressive illustrations perfectly compliment Long's humorous tale.

Long and Shannon's follow up, Pirate's Don't Change Diapers, is as charming as the first! When Braid Beard and his crew return to Jeremy Jacob's house, they accidentally wake his baby sister. Hi-jinks ensue as the pirates become babysitters for the wee mutineer. Perhaps even funnier than How I Became A Pirate, this sequel is a gem!

Corrine Demas and John Manders send pirates on an educational adventure in Pirates Go to School, a rollicking, rhyming, re-imagining of the school day from a pirate's perspective.

Perfect for pre-K and elementary alike, Pirates Go To School will have kids saying, "Yo, ho, ho, we're so cool. We are pirates and we love school!"

Also illustrated by John Manders is Carolyn Crimi's Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies.

Buccaneer Bunnies? How funny is that? Henry is not your typical buccaneer. Instead of performing his pirate duties, he'd rather read books. Henry's reading habit angers his father and the rest of the crew of the Salty Carrot. But when the buccaneer bunnies are shipwrecked on a deserted island, Henry's book smarts save the day. Hooray for book loving buccaneer bunnies! A pirate after me own heart!

Shiver me whiskers! Pirate mice!  Riff Raff Sails the High Cheese by Susan Schade andAnne Kennedy is an adorable early reader about a lost chunk of cheese and the mice's quest to recapture their stolen treasure. Munster, Colby, Cheddar and Brie are part of Riff Raff's crew and while parents may groan at the humor, wee mutineers will enjoy this delicious tale.

Another early reader for pirate loving kids is Deborah Underwood's Pirate Mom, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin.

Pete loves pirates, but his mom thinks they are rude and messy. Then Pete and his mom go to see the Amazing Marco, and Marco hypnotizes Pete’s mom into thinking she’s a pirate! Now Pete’s mom won’t behave. Pete wants his real mom back. But can Pete find the Amazing Marco in time? Funny stuff!

Next up are two from Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate and Pirate Princess.

Illustrated by Geraldo Valerio, Half-Pint Pete the Pirate is both an adventure tale and a love story.  When Half-Pint Pete sets out with half a map, he meets Half-Baked Belle. The two work together to find treasure and, in the process, they discover something unexpected - love for each other. Awe!

In Pirate Princess illustrated by Jill McElmurry, Bardham-Quallen overthrows gender stereotypes by introducing an atypical princess, one more interested in pirate ships than tea parties. A raucous tale of girl power! Huzzah!

Another book that challenges gender stereotypes is the late Peter Harris's The Night Pirates, illustrated by Deborah Allwright.

When a rough, tough band of girl pirates comes to steal the front of young Tom's house, Tom asks to join the crew. He is welcomed aboard without reservation and they set sail to an island where some rather lazy and silly grown-up pirates are guarding their treasure. "If you don't give me back my treasure, I'll tell my mommy!" is the funniest line in the book and one that deserves to be shouted at the top of yer lungs, matey! 

Pajama Pirates by Andrew Kramer and Leslie Lammle is a lovely bedtime book for younger children. Told in gentle rhyme, three young pirates set sail on a nighttime adventure filed with pirate ships and sword fights. After Mother Nature calls the pirates home to bed, their adventure continues...in their dreams. Lammle's illustrations are ethereal.

Also for the toddler set - two bright, fun concept books. Pirate Nap by Danna Smith and Valeria Petrone, a color book, and Twenty-six Pirates, an alphabet book from Dave Horowitz.

Last but not least - two books that prove that pirates are great at any time of the year - Kristin Kladstrup's and Matt Tavares's Gingerbread Pirates and A Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas by Philip Yates and Sebastia Serra

The Gingerbread Pirates is a funny Christmas story about a gingerbread pirate, Captain Cookie, and his daring adventure on Christmas eve to rescue his crew from a mysterious cannibal named - yup, you guessed it, Santa Claus!

A Pirate' s Night Before Christmas is a pirate-y re-imagining of the Clement Moore poem, "The Night Before Christmas while A Pirate's Twelve Days of Christmas is a twist on the classic Christmas song.

Do you have a favorite pirate story? How are you going to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day? Comment and win an autographed copy of Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime! Winner chosen at random. I'll announce on 9/26.



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