By Author / Illustrator
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Paperback / softback
A riveting pirate tale set in the eighteenth century during the golden age of piracy in the Caribbean, perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Jacqueline Wilson.
It's 1718: pirate ships sail the oceans and brutal slave masters control the plantations. Eleven-year-old Abigail Buckler lives with her father in the Caribbean. Her clothes are made of finest muslin so she can't play in them, not that there's anyone to play with anyway. She isn't even allowed to go out alone. But when pirates attack Abigail's life will change forever. Suddenly her old certainties about right and wrong, good and bad start to unravel. Maybe Abigail doesn't have to be so ladylike after all...
Packed with historical detail about the Atlantic slave trade, the ravages of empire and human cost of providing luxuries like sugar, cotton and tobacco to Europe, Blackbeard's Treasure is a page-turning, swashbuckling adventure which takes a look at the real pirates of the Caribbean.
What an absolutely cracking read; Pirates of the Caribbean for under 10's! Abigail, the story's main protagonist, is fearless in her search for revenge after pirates attack her home and kill her father. With no one left to stop her Abigail joins her family's slave boy, Boubacar when he reasons that he has no other choice but to join a band of Pirates in the hope of making enough money to return to buy freedom for himself and his mother, 'Nanny Inna'.
Blackbeard's Treasure by writer, podcaster and history presenter, Iszi Lawrence, is packed with details of 'real pirates' and makes a great read, as it follows young Abigail on her adventures. Having cast aside her well-to-do life and fine clothes, Abigail quickly starts to embrace change as she adapts to the much less glamourous lifestyle aboard ship.
A great book full of historical details and information about an interesting period of history. Each chapter starts with a super black and white illustration from Elisa Paganelli which are really lovely. Blackbeard's Treasure is bound to be a popular choice from any classroom bookshelf, not to mention a great book to either support a class topic on pirates, or engage children in discussion about family, friendship, pirates and slavery.
288 pages / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
The year is 1718 and Abigail lives the life of luxury on a plantation in the Caribbean. Her only friend is Boubacar, a slave of a similar age from the plantation. Then one day there is a pirate attack and everything changes. Abigail finds herself running and fighting for her life and in a twist of fate, ends up living with pirates at the time of what was known as the 'golden age' of piracy.
Billie Swift Takes Flight by Iszi Lawrence was one of my favourite books last year and so I looked forward to reading this. Blackbeard's Treasure is a historical view of pirates, full of real people and it doesn't put any gloss on the life of a pirate. There is nothing romantic or sweet about these pirates - even the girls are tough and uncompromising. There is violence and ever-present danger as well as the privations of being at sea. Yet this is still a fun, swashbuckling adventure, full of historical figures brought to life.
I like a book that raises lots of interesting questions and moral issues, which this one certainly does. Not only is it a glimpse at the life of a slave, it also makes the reader consider the way pirates are viewed - they were just thieves at sea and yet there is an allure about them from stories and films that might make children think it was a great life. This book would disabuse them of that thought, even though it is possible to see that for escaped slaves, this was infinitely preferable to being worked to death on a plantation or sold away from your family. There is also the issue of what girls were expected to do, or not do and how limiting life was for some of the upper-class women of the era.
There is a lot of violence and some deaths and obviously slavery in this book, so although it is technically readable for some seven year olds, it is not necessarily suitable for some children of that age. It is a book that adds to a little-known bit of history and it is a fascinating adventure story that I can see will be enjoyed by all.
288 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+