Pirates, shipwrecks, voyages into the unknown, floods and mysterious strangers. Boats provide a useful function in children’s books. Over the next few months I’ll be writing about my fifty favourite adventures about boats.
From fantastical nautical epics to salty graphic yarns, we’ll see how these stories form a central strand of children’s literature, and also learn more than is strictly necessary about blige, ballast, binnacles and barnacles. And I promise, no more iffy seafaring analogies.
50 Books About Boats (in no particular order)
- The Book of Dust Vol. 1 – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
- Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
- Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson
- The Minnow on the Say by Philippa Pearce
- Nightbirds over Nantucket by Joan Aiken
- Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill
- Mr Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham
- Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
- Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone
- Where the Wild things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Asterix and the Great Crossing by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
- The Farthest Shore (Earthsea 3) by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
- The House that Sailed Away by Pat Hutchins
- The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd Stanton
- Tintin – The Crab with the Golden Claws by Herge
- Lost and Found Oliver Jeffers
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graheme
- Rivers at Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston
- The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius
- Captain Pugwash by John Ryan
- Tales of the Black Freighter by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- The Green Ship by Quentin Blake
- The Story of the Map by Roger Duvoisin
- The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies
- The Real Boat by Marina Aromshtam
- The Cow Who Fell in the Canal by Peter Spier
- Mr Miniscule and the Whale by Julian Tuwim and Bohdan Butenko
- The Ship that Flew by Hilda Lewis
- Stuart Little by E.B. White
- The Little Captain by Paul Biegel
- Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
- Lightship by Brian Floca
- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
- A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis
- The Adventures of Uncle Lubin by W. Heath Robinson
- The Marvels by Brian Selznick
- Journey trilogy by Aaron Becker
- Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick
- Dougal’s Deep Sea Diary by Simon Bartram
- The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear
- The Arrival by Shaun Tan
- A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton
- Yellow Kayak by Nina Laden and Melissa Castrillon
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton
Is your favourite boat missing from this list? Let’s have a heated debate below the line.
11 thoughts on “50 Books About Boats”
Minnow on the Say? Surely?
In at no. 5!
Glad to see quite a few favourites of mine on this list, including Hilda Lewis’ The Ship That Flew, Night Birds and The Farthest Shore. Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe perhaps, especially the condensed versions I read as a kid? They both began with voyages, didn’t they. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner I also read as a kid.
Looking on our grandkids’ shelves now:
Where the Wild Things Are.
The Heroes (Charles Kingsley).
Five on a Treasure Island.
Ah, forgot the Send was on your list.
You know, I’ve never read a Famous Five book. Perhaps it’s time.
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The first is the best, in my opinion.
Oh, you must try THE TREASURE OF BARRACUDA by Llanos Campos, illustrated by Júlia Sardà, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel! A swashbuckling good time: http://www.cbcbooks.org/cbc_book/the-treasure-of-barracuda/#.Wpoh05NuaRs
Great list Jake!
I would add Jonny Duddle’s ‘The Pirates Next Door’ and ‘The Pirates of Scurvy Sands.
Just finished Moby Dick by Chaboute. Amazing illustrations, a book that really sweeps you along in the suspense and drama. My boy loved it!
Looks amazing, thank you Mark.