A cracking story is one of the most relaxing ways for kids to wind down at the end the day.
So having a few collections of short stories for kids, on the bookshelf, is a surefire way to make certain there’s always a classic or magical story on hand, at bedtime.
I also think there’s something really comforting about a short story that stands the test of time – be it a classic fairy tale or a playful adventure with the loveable Winnie the Pooh.
Not only do short stories for kids (especially the classic ones) often contain an age old message, or moral, they also help kids make sense of the world – allowing them to take on the role of hero or heroine or live out their fears around good and evil.
And all in the safety of an imaginary world, whilst tucked up snugly in bed (or cuddled up on the sofa, with some milk and a cookie!).
Short stories, of course, also encourage creativity and imagination and can help inspire a life long love of books in your child, which they can share with their own children in years to come.
15 Short Stories For Kids You’ll Want To Read Too
1 – Aesop’s Fables
Aesop’s Fables teach children simple truths in a imaginative and delightful way.
From much loved classics, The Tortoise and the Hare and The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs to The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, these wonderful collection of tales, with a moral, have been passed from generation to generation.
Winnie the Pooh conjures up whimsical days in nature, fun games of Pooh Sticks and all the loveable friends of Christopher Robin. An icon of children’s literature, A A Milnes’s Winnie The Pooh stories encapsulate everything good and timeless about childhood.
3 – Just So Stories
Rudyard Kipling’s wonderful Just So Stories are a timeless collection of fables and folk stories with a message. Most are focussed around animals and nature, which is always a winner with most children.
Just So Stories include tales such as How the Leopard Got His Spots and The Butterfly That Stamped.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales includes all the classics from Snow White to Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella to Hansel & Gretel. Keep in mind though; these are the originals collected by the Grimm brothers in the 1800s, so they are not the sanitised Disney versions we’ve come to know. They are often much darker and don’t always have a happy ending.
If you want a more sanitised or simplified version for your kids, try something like A First Book of Fairy Tales.
Another option for the popular fairy tale is of course Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote classics including The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Princes and the Pea.
Whilst these 6 short stories based around Oz may now feel a little dated to some, if you’re child is a fan of the magical world of Oz (my Little Lady was transfixed by the original Wizard of Oz film), Frank Baum’s Little Wizard Stories of Oz make a magical addition to the bookshelf, with their whimsical wisdom and timeless sense of magic.
The concept is simple – a different story for each letter of the alphabet.
Illustrated and written by New York Times’ Bestseller Oliver Jeffries, each letter has it’s own unique and entertaining short story.
Who doesn’t love a Moomin? (I ‘ahem’ still drink my tea from a Moomin mug.) Tove Jansson’s delightful stories about the residents of Moominvalley are another timeless classic and a great addition to your short stories for kids collection.
‘There is, in short, everything in the Moon books: giant comets and secret caves and tree houses and stilts and magic-carpet clouds and amusement parks run by despotic practical-joking kings and time machines and ski instructors.’ ―Harper’s
Well, it’s Roald Dahl isn’t it. Enough said.
9 – Zen Shorts
Beautifully illustrated, Zen Shorts comes with some powerful messages for kids and adults alike. Introducing kids to a Zen approach to the world, the book hangs off a story about three siblings and a panda, who relates short stories, each illustrating a Zen principle.
A great book for introducing the concepts of kindness and mindfulness to little ones.
10 – M is For Magic
Neil Gaiman is a modern master of fantasy storytelling (and author to the wonderful kid’s book Blueberry Girl) and M is For Magic is a great introduction to his work for older children.
Expect classic detective stories, ghosts and instructions for how to properly behave in fairyland. Gaiman’s world can be dark, so its recommended for ages 10 years and up. Gaiman also wrote Coraline, which was turned into an Academy Award Nominated film.
I thought my Little Lady might find The Tales of Peter Rabbit a little dated, but she loved them. This timeless collection of all 23 Peter Rabbit short stories are beautifully illustrated with Beatrix Potter’s original drawings and continue to delight little ones around the world.
12 – Your Favourite Suess
I. Love. Dr. Suess. And I think your child probably will too.
You’ll find all the Dr Seuss favourites in this collection – from The Cat in The Hat to Green Eggs and Ham. An incredible mix of silliness and wise and inspirational words such as: You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!
Dive into the wonderful, witty world of acclaimed write Terry Pratchett, with these short stories for kids about magic, wizards and all round silliness.
This is the second books of Terry’s short stories for kids, which followed Dragons at Crumbling Castle. Remarkably, the stories were written when Terry Practchet was just 17 years old.
Snuggle up with a classic fairy tale, magical adventure or favourite rhyme. With something to read for each day of the year, this beautifully illustrated collection of short stories and rhymes for younger children, means you’ll never run out of reading ideas at bedtime!
British comedian David Walliams has been touted as the successor to Roald Dahl. Whilst I’m not ‘quite’ sure about that, there are parallels to his writing and his books are without doubt a great addition to a slightly older kids’ bookshelf.
In The World’ Worst Children, each chapter is a separate story about a rather humorously dreadful child!
Have I missed any classic short stories for kids? Let me know your own personal favourites below.
More Stories and Books For Kids
- 9 Solar System and Space Books For Kids
- 16 Picture Books With Strong Female Characters
- Roald Dahl Books For Kids: 15 of the Woopsy Wiffling Best
- 13 Halloween Books For Kids (That Are Fiendishly Family Friendly)