Flat Stanley to the Rescue
Talk of the Tuesday

Avast! Pirate Books

Here's a new resource that I am going to take immediate advantage of, at least when the library opens tomorrow. It's a bibliography of pirate books and web sites, put together by Kay E. Vandergrift, Rutgers professor emerita.

My son (who's 6) was asking for a book about pirates just yesterday, and that prompted a little discussion about them. "They were robbers, you know," I felt obligated to say. (No news to him, by the way.)  Prof. Vandergrift asks some thought-provoking questions in her introduction to the pirate bibliography, including the following:

Is it our responsibility as educators to help children understand the reality of piracy to counteract the glorification of pirates often seen in the popular media?

Can we, or should we, attempt to introduce this reality without destroying children's joy in re-creating traditional fictional pirates in their dramatic play?

Prof. Vandergrift maintains the excellent Children's Literature Page, of which the pirate information is a part. You'll find bibliographies and commentary on many other subjects. This is a can't-miss site.

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Most readers associate Brian Jacques with the wonderful Redwall series, but he's also written a pirate book, of sorts. It's called Castaways of the Flying Dutchman...and although the main characters, a boy and his dog, leave the sea after only fifty pages and spend the rest of the story on land, the ghost of the ship haunts the story until the end. It's a remarkable tale, combining all of Jacques' skill at fantasy and suspense. Take a look if you get the chance.

Bruce, thank you for the suggestion!

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