Short Stories for All Ages
Sometimes we just need a good, short story.
Enter the Body, by Joy McCullough
In the room beneath a stage’s trapdoor, Shakespeare’s dead teenage girls compare their experiences and retell the stories of their lives, their loves, and their fates in their own words. Bestselling author Joy McCullough offers a brilliant tastament to how young women can support each other and reclaim their stories in the aftermath of trauma. Highly recommended new release.
Genre/BISAC: YA Theater Fiction, Short Stories, Girls' & Women's Issues, ages 14-17, Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780593406755
As a long-time fan of Stephen King, this collection of short novellas does not disappoint. Each story is completely different, each with its own touch of paranormal. In Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (now a movie), an intergenerational friendship has a disturbing afterlife. The Life of Chuck explores how each of us contains multitudes. And in Rat, a struggling writer must contend with the darker side of ambition.
Genre/BISAC: Adult Fiction, Short Stories, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Ages 18+, $10 (SC), 2022, Pocket Books, 9781982138004
After the Nova, by Weinberg Hannah
Genre/BISAC: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mental Health, ages 13–18, 2022, The Unapologetic Voice House, l9781955090186
Who Done It?, by Jon Schieszka
When I first saw this book, all I could imagine is how much fun all of these excellent writers must have had putting it together. -KC
Publisher description: Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew. The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide. A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.
Genre/BISAC: Teen and Young Adult Mysteries & Detective Stories, Humor, Adult Interest, February 2018, Soho Teen, 9781616951528
The Hero Next Door, Edited by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Excellent collection, excellent authors, excellent cause: We Need Diverse Books. -KC
Publisher description: Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes teach martial arts. Others talk to ghosts. A few are inventors or soccer players. They’re also sisters, neighbors, and friends. Because heroes come in many shapes and sizes. But they all have one thing in common: they make the world a better place.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, YA, Fiction, Diversity, WNDB, Contemporary Realistic, Collection, Adult Interest, Ages 8-14, Penguin Yearling, 2021, 9780525646334
Perfectly Imperfect Stories, by Leo Potion
Mental health stories, needed more than ever, this book features 28 well-known people who struggled with mental health. Four-color, great for readers ages 8 and up. -KC
Publisher description: Meet 28 icons, from pop stars to sporting heroes, and discover how they overcame a range of mental health issues, from anorexia to depression, to live inspiring lives. At a time when kids' mental health is under more pressure than ever, this book celebrates the message that it's ok not to be ok. Includes Hollywood icons, artists, scientists, Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, even royalty. Great art and interactive pages accompany each story, expertly designed by and produced by Laurence King Publishing.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, Elementary, YA, Adult Interest, Nonfiction, Celebrity Stories, Mental Health, SEL Learning, Ages 8+, 2021, Laurence King Publishing, 9781786279200
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and series, by Betty MacDonald
All the kids in the neighborhood love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. She lets them color on the walls, brush and braid her floor length hair, and dig in the garden for fossils and buried treasure. All the parents call Mrs. Piggle Wiggle when they are having troubles with one or more of their children, and her solutions always work, like The Radish Cure, when Patsy decides she no longer wants to take baths. Or when Mary turns into an Answer-Backer. Kids and adults will love and laugh-out-loud as they see themselves in these tales, and the ways Mrs. Piggle Wiggle rises to each occasion. As a child, I used to re-read these books over and over. And they remained all-time favorites of my four children as they grew. Great for reading aloud. -KC
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, Elementary, Fiction, Humor, Family, SEL, Ages 8+, Collection Edition, HarperCollins, 2007
The Tarantula in My Purse, by Jean Craighead George
Imagine living with a skunk in your closet, a bat in your refrigerator, and a tarantula in your purse! In this hilarious autobiographical account, Newbery Medal–winning author (Julie of the Wolves) and acclaimed naturalist, Jean Craighead George describes her adventures in a house full of wildlife enthusiasts—and the amazing animals themselves.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, Elementary, YA Nonfiction, Animals, Naturalist, Zoology, Pets, Pet Care, Humor, Ages 5+ , 2019, HarperCollins, 9780064462013
Gift of the Maji and Other Stories, by O. Henry
In the beloved title story of this handsome collection, a man and woman each long to bring home just the right gift for the other. But with so little money, how can there be hope? The poignant twists and heartwarming conclusion of this perfect plum of a story help explain the lasting appeal of this most American of authors. Writing under the famous pseudonym 0. Henry, William Sydney Porter tales are classic stories that should be read at least some time in everybody's lives.
Genre/BISAC: Short Stories, Fiction, Classic Literature, All ages, 1997, William Morris & Company, 9780688145811
Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist, by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich
I personally know both of these authors and poets, and I absolutely love this take on familiar fairy tales. -KC
Publisher description: What were all those fairy-tale characters thinking? The authors answer this question in paired poems, with sometimes startling results. The Princess claims all those mattresses kept her awake—not a silly pea—while the poor pea complains that the princess snores. One Snow White begs the witch to settle by the bay and throw that mirror away. Another boldly tells the mirror she “won’t be guided by a glass that’s so one-sided.” Includes end notes that describe the tales and their history, and an invitation for readers to imagine their own poems from unusual perspectives.
Genre/BISAC: Science Fiction, Children's Humous Poetry, Children's Folk Tales & Myths, Age 7-10 $16.95 (HC)/$9.99 (SC), March 2013, Wordsong: Illustrated edition, 9781590788677
Sleepy Stories, by Mario Levero
Each story told in Sleepy Stories drifts deeper into a beguiling dream world, telling of an elastic gentleman who stretches his body across town to effortlessly slip into bed, or of another sleepy young man who curls inside an upside-down umbrella to take a snooze. In Diego Bianki's magical universe, the waking world is made small while the dream world Levrero and his son Nicolás build together (a land of sly frogs, giant apes, and smiling squids) waltzes across the page. On the last page, Nicolás holds the book over his father's nodding head and says, "Another."
Genre/BISAC: Self Help, Psychological Humor, Children's Sleep Issues, Children's Humor, Grade: Kindergarten-3, $22.00 (HC) July 2021, Elsewhere Editions, 9781939810847
The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
Love love love this collaboration of tales by Schieszka and Lane Smite. Utterly laughed out loud every time reading, and this was one book the kids wanted read over and over and over again. Highly recommended, with humor galore, perfect for reluctant readers. From “The Stinky Cheese Man” to“Cinderummpelstiltskin,” these unique, hilarious retellings poke fun at classic stories and characters. The wonderfully off-beat and bizarre illustrations and design play with the text and create interactive pages for each story, making this a one-of-kind masterpiece.
Genre/BISAC: Children's Folk Tale & Myth Anthologies, Children's Humor, Ages 6-9, 1992, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780670844876
A Ring of Tricksters, by Virginia Hamilton, Illustrated by Barry Moser
These folk tales have been told and passed down from generation to generation, featuring tricksters and wonderfully inventive characters who outsmart others and use their wits to prevail in the most difficult circumstances. A fiddling alligator is outsmarted by a rabbit. A chameleon is tricked by a spider and a lizard into transforming himself into a boat. And a turtle outwits a leopard and rides him like a horse--with 11 tales in all, beautifully illustrated.
Genre/BISAC: Elementary, Juvenile, YA, Adult Interest, Fiction, Folklore, Humor, Poetry, Children's Folk Tales & Myths, Age 4-9, 1997, Blue Sky Press.
The Tree Princes of Serendip: New Tellings of Old Tales for Everyone, by Rodaan Al Galidi
This feast of Middle Eastern folklore from an award-winning Iraqi storyteller is paired with vibrant cut-paper art. The twenty fables and folktales in this illustrated storybook have taken a long journey. Many have roots that stretch across Europe, Asia, and Africa, but when award-winning writer and gatherer of tales Rodaan Al Galidi learned them in his homeland of Iraq, it was as Arabic folktales and as part of the Arabic storytelling tradition. When he migrated to the Netherlands, he shaped twenty of those tales into his debut book for children, which was translated to English by Laura Watkinson. Filled with wisdom about love and acceptance, and warnings against folly, these elegantly translated stories, many unknown in the United States, of donkeys and roosters, kings, sheikhs, and paupers, are exquisitely illustrated by cut-paper artist Geertje Aalders. Beautifully packaged, The Three Princes of Serendip is a rich and varied introduction to the world of Middle Eastern folklore.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, YA, Adult Interest, Fiction, Folklore, Middle Eastern Folklore, Ages 6-9, 2021, Candlewick, 9781536214505
My Very First Mother Goose, by Iona Opie
All four of my children loved and re-read this book so often the binding fell apart. Fortunately I was able to replace it with the gorgeous 20th Anniversary edition.
Publisher description: To a small child, words are magical. And the most magical of all are the beloved words of Mother Goose. Here, folklorist Iona Opie has gathered more than sixty treasured rhymes in their most perfect, honest forms from “Hey Diddle, Diddle" and “Pat-a-Cake” to “Little Jack Horner” and “Pussycat, Pussycat” — familiar verses that have been passed from parent to child for generations and are every child’s birthright. With watercolors by Rosemary Wells capturing the simple joy and sly humor of the classic nursery rhymes, includes a note from the illustrator on the unparalleled influence of Mother Goose, during childhood and beyond.
Genre/BISAC: Nursery Rhymes, Poetry for Early Reading, Classics, Age: 1-3, 2016, Candlewick, 9780763688912.
Ghost: 13 Haunted Tales to Tell, by Illustratus
A finger against the inside of a mirror... a wood where the trees look back... a basement door blocked by a brick wall so thick, it stifles the screams from below ... This original collection of chilling poems and tales contains the only true ghost stories in existence (as the book itself will tell you)—13 eerie encounters perfect for sharing...if you dare. Accompanied by striking illustrations and building to a truly spine-tingling conclusion, this haunting book will consume the imagination and keep readers of every age up long past their bedtimes.
Genre/BISAC: Children's Spine-tingling Horror, Age: 8-12, $19.39 (HC) August 2019, Chronicle Books; Illustrated edition, 9781452171289
Battle of the Bands, by Lauren Gibaldi
Fifteen young adult authors and one real-life rock star band together for one epic interconnected memorable high school rite of passage. Must read for lovers of YA and music!
Genre/BISAC: Young Adult Short Stories, Contemporary Anthologies, Music, Romance, LGBT Age: 14-17, 2021, Candlewick, 9781536214338
Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors & Teens on the Dark Side of Love, by Heather Demetrios
In this powerful collection, well-known YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: dating violence, break-ups, cheating, betrayals and loneliness. This book contains a no-holds-barred, raw outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen writers.
Genre/BISAC: Young Adult, Anthologies, Romance, Short Stories, Contemporary, LGBTQ, Ages 14-18, 2018, Henry Holt, 9781250170903 (HC)
Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales, by Soman Chainani
Twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts, each twists like a spindle, revealing truths full of warning and triumph; truths that free hearts long kept tame; and truths that explore life and death.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenilne, YA, Adult Interest, Fairy Tales, Ages 10-14, 2021, HarperCollins, 9780062652638
A Velocity of Being; Letters to a Young Reader, by Maria Popovo and Claudia Zoe Bedrick
In these pages, writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers reflect on the joys of reading, how books broaden and deepen human experience, and the ways in which the written word has formed their own character. On the page facing each letter, an illustration by a celebrated illustrator or graphic artist presents that artist's visual.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, YA, Adult Interest, Fiction, Story Collections, Art, Poetry, Essays, The Writing Life, Book Nerds, Ages 8+, 2018, Enchanted Lion Books, 9781592702282
Tales From Outer Suburbia, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan
Award-winning book, breathtakingly illustrated and hauntingly written, by turns hilarious and poignant, perceptive and goofy, all exploring the precious strangeness of our existence. Whether it’s discovering that the world really does stop at the end of the city’s map book, or a family’s lesson in tolerance through an alien cultural exchange student, the smart, social satire brings us face-to-face with the humor and absurdity of modern life.
Genre/BISAC: YA, Steampunk, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Oceanic, Age: 12+, $12.99, 2009, Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545055871
Straw House, Wood House, Brickhouse, Blow, by Shaun Tan
A collection of four novellas in different genres, including a western about a farmer who grows living toys and a rancher who grows half-living people; a science fiction story of the near-future in which the world is as easy to manipulate as the Internet; a crime story in which every wish comes true and only the Imaginary Crimes Unit can stop them; and a comedic love story in which Death describes himself as a charismatic hero.
Genre/BISAC: YA, Adult Interest, Contemporary Realistic, Anthologies, Ages 17+, 2011, Candlewick Press, 9780763655266
The End and Other Beginnings, by Veronica Roth
A collection of novella-length stories set in the future, illustrated with black-and-white artwork.
No world is like the other. Within this collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems. With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Collections, Ages 13-17, 2019, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062796523
Blackout, by Clayton, Jackson, Stone, Thomas, Woodfolk, Yoon
Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of black teens in love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark. When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.
Genre/BISAC: YA Fiction, LGBTQ, Contemporary, Romance, Ages 13-17, 2022, Quill Tree Books, 9780063088108
Hungry Hearts, by Elsie Chapman
A stunning collection of short stories about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of teens, from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors, including Sandhya Menon, Anna Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco.
Genre/BISAC: Juvenile, YA Contemporary Realistic, Romance, Family, Food Anthologies, Ages: 12+, $2019, Simon & Schuster, 9781534421851
Gris Grimly's Tales from the Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm’s enduring fairy tales are brought to life for a new generation of readers in their original, uncut, uncensored form, in a lavish new edition by the master of the gothic macabre—bestselling illustrator Gris Grimly. For lovers of classic literature and horror in their original gory formats, these fairy tales are not for the faint of heart.
Horror lovers and Edgar Allen Poe fans get a real treat in this collection of his most popular and thrilling stories and poems, retold with clockwork gears, parasols, air balloons and all things Steampunk!
Folktales and Legends of South Texas, by David Bowles
Award-winning translator and author David Bowles brings together twenty-five darkly memorable stories of the southern borderlands of Texas, retold in his unique voice. Ranging from the age-old folktales heard at his grandmother’s knee, to urban legends collected down the years, each of these narratives is brought to stunning visual life by artist José Meléndez.
Genre/BISAC: YA, Adult, Fiction, Folklore, Southern Legends, Mythology, Horror $19.95 (SC), June 2019, Lamar University Press; Illustrated edition, 9781942956013