To Talk Like a Pirate, you must read about pirates. Here's my list of 10 great books about pirates.
1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The incredible 1883 classic told, mainly, through the lens of young Jim Hawkins about his adventures with Long John Silver.
2. Peter Pan; or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by JM Barrie. Part of the appeal of Barrie's 1904 novel and play is the tension between adolescent and adulthood. That's the underlying theme -- the theme we think about, however, is the rollicking fun between Hook's pirate and Peter's Lost Boys. Check out related film adaptations as well.
3. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. The pirate attack is a key element in this 1812 novel about a proper family from Switzerland shipwrecked on island and trying to bring their own form of civilization. Jules Verne wrote a sequel in 1900 called The Castaways of the Flag.
4. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Crusoe's classic adventures on the high seas in 1651 go wrong from the beginning when his ship is attacked by pirates and he becomes a slave.
5. The Pirates of Penzance; or The Slave of Duty by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. This delightful 1879 comic operetta features the great song early on "I Am a Pirate King." Our favorite version of the operetta, and we have seen probably 9 by now, is still the 1980s version with Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstandt and Rex Smith.
6. High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes. The 1929 novel is about a group of children kidnapped by pirates. The boys and girls must defend themselves against the meanness and desires of the pirates.
7. The Not-so-Jolly-Roger by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. For young readers who want a pirate adventure but may not be ready for some of the great novels on this list, try Scieszka and Smith's 2004 tale that's part of the lively and funny Time Warp Trio series.
8. The Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle. How we imagine today what pirates looked like is still influenced by the detailed illustrations by American author and illustrator Pyle. His Book of Pirates was published in 1921, 10 years after his death, and is a collection of several stories that he wrote and for which he created beautiful, detailed watercolors.
9. Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne. Three teen-age boys are kidnapped and live among the pirates in this 1857 novel that includes death, cannibalism, surfing, stealing and Christian missionaries. William Golding's 1954 Lord of the Flies, another intense novel about boys on an island, is a response to this classic Scottish adventure.
10. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Tom and his friends love playing pirates at home and on the island in the Mississippi River to which they try to escape from their childhood responsibilities. As they do, their lives become more complicated in Twain's 1876 novel. Try reading it aloud.
On another Talk Like a Pirate Day, just wanted to write again that pirate literature continues to be a good way to get kids, especially boys, who are interested in pirates to get them interested in books and culture. Even when our son was young, he could enjoy watching live and video versions of The Pirates of Penzance because he was so fascinated by pirates. You might be surprised at kids' ability to tackle books that might be a little difficult to read if they are interested in the subject. Let them start with Treasure Island, or find the graphic novel version and get them reading that way.