A love of reading is one of the most powerful things a parent can pass on to their children. One really great way to do that is to offer them excellent stories that aren’t too long for their attention span. These short stories for kids are perfect, they will love them and you’ll love seeing them read!
Summer is the perfect opportunity to get kids to unplug from their busy lives and sit down and read for pleasure. Many children are often sent home from school with summer reading lists or recommendations. But these assignments rarely include short stories for kids. And that’s a shame, as there are many benefits to introducing young readers to this literary format.
Reading short stories allows young readers to sample the very best in literary talent, both living and dead. It allows them to experience various genres and writing styles. And short stories allow good stopping points to accommodate bedtimes and activities. Below are some suggestions to get your young readers started in the wider world of short stories.
9 Classic Short Stories for You and Your Child to Love
Below are nine great short stories for your kids (and you, if you haven’t read them yet!)
1. The Ransom of Red Chief (O. Henry)
Well over a hundred years before the movie Home Alone, crooks pick on the wrong kid. And when selecting O. Henry short stories for kids, don’t forget his The Gift Of The Magi. It’s appropriate for any time of year, despite its Christmas setting.
2. The Monkey’s Paw (W.W. Andrews)
Ironic and scary, this is an excellent short story for older children. It also serves as an excellent introduction to other authors with more ironic writing styles.
3. The Lady, Or The Tiger (Frank R. Stockton)
Kids often have to make what they consider to be impossible choices. They’ll have no trouble relating to the dilemma of this story’s hero. Stockton’s classic tale also gives many children the first introduction to literature with a twist ending.
4. The Diaries of Adam And Eve (Mark Twain)
These humorous short stories offer examples of the famous writer’s early work. Told from the separate points of view of the Bible’s first humans, Twain translates their journal entries about adjusting to life on Earth.
Also, children sampling Twain’s shorter works should also try The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. The story that first made Twain a national bestseller, it’s a humorous account of a gambler who will bet on anything.
5. To Build A Fire (Jack London)
London’s vivid tale is about a man who learns the hard way to take the great outdoors seriously. The story offers children a good introduction to London before moving on to his Call Of The Wild.
6. The Birthday of the Infanta (Oscar Wilde)
When one thinks of short stories for kids, this controversial 19th-century writer might not immediately come to mind. But Wilde wrote some stories specifically geared to younger readers, and this is one of his best.
The stories of a 12-year-old heroine who learns a lesson about outer and inner beauty that will resonate with young readers today.
7. The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling)
Yes, they’ve all seen the movies about Mowgli and his animal pals. But many children are unaware that Mowgli’s tale is only one of a series of different stories set within this book.
Stories include The White Seal and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. This story still has the best hero and villain showdown scene in children’s literature.
8. Assorted Works Of Edgar Allen Poe
Creator of the Gothic horror story. And science fiction. And mystery writing. But are Poe’s classic works good short stories for kids? That depends on a child’s age, reading level, and temperament. Poe’s florid writing style makes his horror writing more creepy than scary for modern audiences. But his work contains disturbing images that might bother sensitive young readers. Adults should give all of Poe’s work a solid PG rating when considering its suitability for children.
- Among Poe’s works that still hold appeal for many younger readers are The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and The Pit And The Pendulum.
- Children may find some of Poe’s other work tough going by modern reading standards. They may enjoy The Murders in the Rue Morgue. This story was Poe’s first big hit and literature’s first mystery story.
9. The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
The popularity of television shows like Sherlock and Elementary have certainly made literature’s most famous detective familiar to children. Some of his shorter stories, such as The Adventure Of The Speckled Band and The Musgrave Ritual are appropriate for most younger readers regarding length and content.
2 Cute and Fun Stories for Kids with Animals
Animal and nature stories are generally a safe bet when selecting children’s reading material. This applies to both genders and a variety of ages. And when choosing shorts stories for kids, it’s hard to go wrong with the two books here. Both are fictionalized memoirs. However, each chapter is a distinctly different story from the one that proceeds it. Since both books settings are in the 1930s and 1940s, kids may need historical interpretive assistance from adults.
The Diaries of Adam And Eve
Canada’s best-known nature writer recounts his boyhood adventures with a pair of owls that his family adopts. In addition to some delightful stories, the book provides genuine information about owls. Adults are warned, however, that the book recounts what today would be illegal animal collection and treatment, and prejudicial attitudes towards Native Americans. They should be prepared to help children put these issues into perspective while reading it.
All Creatures Great And Small (James Herriot):
The British veterinarian turned author recalls how he got his start in the Yorkshire countryside. Its s self-contained chapters are generally humorous and upbeat. Still, this is a story about a veterinary practice. Animals occasionally suffer near death experiences and even die here. This book may not be appropriate for more sensitive young readers. Herriot’s writing style is very approachable. But because of the book’s setting and time frame, adults should prepare for field questions. (Full-length book, not a short story, for more advanced readers.)
Once Upon a Time
Sadly, there seems to be a shortage of genuinely good modern literature when it comes to short stories for kids. The internet, however, can be a helpful tool in guiding adults looking for appropriate materials for children. And literature teams with excellent mature short fiction.
Fortunately, parents and young readers can find internet help here as well when it’s time to graduate from short stories for kids.