Children’s and Young Adult Short Stories

This bibliography is drawn from books published between 1995 and 2020. While some award-winners and bestsellers are included, part of the goal is to feature underappreciated gems. For more recent titles, visit Cynsations. For broader insights into the format and reading lists, SEE ALSO Comics and Graphic Literature.

American DragonsAMERICAN DRAGONS: TWENTY-FIVE ASIAN-AMERICAN VOICES edited by Laurence Yep (HarperCollins, 1993). Targeted at young adult readers, these stories will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to find their place. Ages 12-up.

AMERICAN EYES: NEW ASIAN-AMERICAN SHORT STORIES FOR YOUNG ADULTS edited by Lori M. Carlson with an introduction by Cynthia Kadohata (Henry Holt, 1994). For a frank, refreshing discussion on literature by Asian Americans, read the introduction to this collection. Ages 12-up.

BEING DEAD by Vivian Vande Velde (Harcourt, 2001). Sometimes touching, sometimes really scary, sometimes just on the creepy side stories of the dead by Vivian Van Velde. “Drop by Drop” is guaranteed to keep you up at night (and checking under your car). “October Chill” is affecting, emotionally haunting—the kind of story that leaves its readers imagining what does or doesn’t happen next. This enormously talented author is the creator of several books for children and young adults, including: MAGIC CAN BE MURDER; THERE’S A DEAD PERSON FOLLOWING MY SISTER AROUND; NEVER TRUST A DEAD MAN; THE RUMPLESTILTSKIN PROBLEM; and TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM AND THE SISTERS WEIRD. Ages 10-up. Read The Story Behind The Story from Vivian Vande Velde.

THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES by Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire LeGrand, and Emma Trevayne, illustrated by Alexander Jannson (Greenwillow Books, 2014).  A collection of thirty-six eerie, mysterious, intriguing, and very short stories by the acclaimed authors Stefan Bachmann, Katherine Catmull, Claire LeGrand, and Emma Trevayne. Perfect for fans of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and anyone who relishes a good creepy tale. Great for reading alone or reading aloud at camp or school! The book features an introduction and commentary by the authors and black-and-white illustrations throughout. Ages 8-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

CLOUDWALKER: CONTEMPORARY NATIVE AMERICAN STORIES is a collection of short stories by Joel Monture (Mohawk), illustrated by Carsen Waterman (Seneca) (Fulcrum, 1996). This collection features characters from a variety of Native nations. Ages 9-up.

The Color of Absence: 12 Stories About Loss and HopeTHE COLOR OF ABSENCE: 12 STORIES ABOUT LOSS AND HOPE edited by James Howe (Atheneum, 2001). Our pick: “Summer of Love” by Annette Curtis Klause, especially wonderful for those of you who enjoyed THE SILVER KISS. Other contributors: Avi; C.B. Christiansen; James Howe; Angela Johnson; Norma Fox Mazer; Walter Dean Myers; Naomi Shihab Nye; Michael J. Rosen; Roderick Townley; Virginia Euwer Wolff; and Jacqueline Woodson with Chris Lynch (as co-authors). Ages 12-up.

FORESHADOW: STORIES TO CELEBRATE THE MAGIC OF READING AND WRITING YA, edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin, 2020). A trove of unforgettable fiction makes up the beating heart of this book, and the accompanying essays offer an ode to young adult literature, as well as practical advice to writers.

FLYING LESSONS & OTHER STORIES edited by Ellen Oh (Crown, 2017). Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories. Ages 8-up. More on this author from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

GEEKTASTIC: STORIES FROM THE NERD HERD edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2010). Acclaimed authors Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfeld, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr. With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley, GEEEKTASTIC covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you’re a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, GEEKTASTIC will help you get your geek on! Ages 12-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

GIRL MEETS BOY: BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY edited by Kelly Milner Halls (Chronicle Books, 2011). What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of “he said/she said” stories—he tells it from the guy’s point of view, she tells it from the girl’s. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There’s the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated—because there are two sides to every story. Ages 14-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

GOTHIC! TEN ORIGINAL DARK TALES edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2004). Features stories by Joan Aiken, M.T. Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Celia Rees, Janni Lee Simner, Vivian Vande Velde, and Barry Yourgrau. Worth the price of the book for the introduction, though the collection itself is wickedly outstanding. Ages 14-up.

GROWING UP ASIAN AMERICAN: STORIES OF CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE, AND COMING OF AGE IN AMERICA FROM THE 1800S TO THE 1990S BY THIRTY-TWO ASIAN AMERICAN WRITERS (Avon, 1993) edited and with an introduction by Maria Hong, including an after word by Stephen H. Sumida. Features stories by such well-respected voices as Amy Tan, Toshio Mori, Gus Lee, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Ages 12-up.

GROWING UP NATIVE AMERICAN: STORIES OF OPPRESSION AND SURVIVAL, OF HERITAGE DENIED AND RECLAIMED ‘ 22 AMERICAN WRITERS RECALL CHILDHOOD IN THEIR NATIVE LAND edited and with an introduction by Patricia Riley (Cherokee), foreword by Ines Hernandez (Nimipu/Mexican Indian) (Avon Books, 1993). An amazing array of stories by some of the most talented voices in Native literature, including Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas) and Linda Hogan (Chickasaw). Ages 12-up.

IMMORTAL: LOVE STORIES WITH BITE edited by P. C. Cast (BenBella, 2008)(exclusive to Borders/Waldenbooks). An anthology collection of short, romantic stories that include the vampire mythology. Features “Haunted Love” by Cynthia Leitich Smith; other contributing authors: Kristin Cast; Rachel Caine; Claudia Gray; Nancy Holder; Tanith Lee; Richelle Mead; and Rachel Vincent. Ages 12-up.

In My Grandmother's House coverIN MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE AWARD WINNING AUTHORS TELL STORIES ABOUT THEIR GRANDMOTHERS, edited and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen (HarperCollins, 2003). An anthology collection of short stories by authors about their grandmothers. Contributing authors: Joan Abelove; Alma Flor Ada, Bonnie Christensen; Beverly Cleary; Pat Cummings; Jean Craighead George; Minfong Ho; Ji-li Jang; Gail Carson Levine; Beverly Naidoo; Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Diane Stanley. Ages 8-up.

INDIAN SHOES by Cynthia Leitich Smith (HarperCollins, 2002)(Heartdrum, 2021). Ray and Grampa Halfmoon face the challenges of daily life with love and humor in this collection of short stories set in Chicago and rural Oklahoma. Together, they encounter homesickness, bad hair cuts, mystery, artistic competition, and a wedding without proper pants for the ring bearer. Ages 7-up. Look for ANCESTOR APPROVED: INTERTRIBAL STORIES FOR KIDS, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Heartdrum, 2021).

JUAN BOBO: FOUR FOLKTALES FROM PUERTO RICO (An I Can Read Book) by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Ernesto Ramos Nieves (HarperCollins, 1994). Bright, festive illustrations accent charming, funny text. Rendered with great enthusiasm and authenticity. Ages 7-up.

KISSING TENNESSEE AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE STARDUST DANCE by Kathi Appelt (Harcourt, 2000). It’s a night to remember as Dogwood Junior High is transformed. In nine short stories, Appelt takes readers to stories of tragedy and charm, romance and intrigue. Ages 12-up.

Moccasin Thunder coverMOCCASIN THUNDER: AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES FOR TODAY edited by Lori Marie Carlson (HarperCollins, 2005). An anthology collection of short stories about contemporary Native American teenagers. Contributing authors: Joy Harjo; Sherman Alexie; Cynthia Leitich Smith; Richard Van Camp; Linda Hogan; Joseph Bruchac; Louise Erdrich; Susan Power; Greg Sarris; and Lee Francis. Ages 12-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Read The Story Behind The Story from Lori Marie Carlson.

MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES edited by Stephanie Perkins (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2014). If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love. Ages 13 – up. Compiled from promotional materials.

On the Fringe edited by Donald R. GalloON THE FRINGE edited by Donald R. Gallo, Lauri Hornik (Dial, 2001). Realistic, gritty, and, at times inspiring, this collection of short stories takes varied looks at the dynamics between teens deemed “in” or “out” and their tense, too often tragic, results. Contributing YA authors are: Joan Bauer; Alden R. Carter; Chris Crutcher; Jack Gantos; Angela Johnson; M. E. Kerr; Ron Koertge; Francess Lantz; Graham Salisbury; Will Weaver; Nancy Werlin. ges 12-up.

ONE HOT SECOND: STORIES ABOUT DESIRE edited by Cathy Young (Knopf, 2002). Desire is defined broadly in this irresistible collection that features stories by: Jennifer Armstrong, Sarah Dessen, Emma Donoghue, Nancy Garden, Angela Johnson, Victor Martinez, Norma Fox Mazer, Rachel Vail, Rich Wallace, Ellen Wittlinger, and Jacqueline Woodson. “Loving Megan” by Garden offered the favorite happy ending. Ages 12-up.

Period Pieces: Stories for GirlsPERIOD PIECES edited by Erzsi Deàk and Kristin Litchman (HarperCollins, February 2003). An anthology collection of short stories about girls starting their periods for the first time. Contributing authors: Dian Curtis Regan; Linda Sue Park; Jane Kurtz; Rita Williams Garcia; Bobbi Katz; April Halprin Wayland; Johanna Hurwitz; Uma Krishnaswami; Carmen T. Bernier-Grand; Kristin Litchman; Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Erzsi Deak. Ages 8-up. Read The Story Behind The Stories.

RED HOT SALSA: BILINGUAL POEMS ON BEING YOUNG AND LATINO IN THE UNITED STATES edited by Lori M. Carlson, introduction by Oscar Hijuelos (Henry Holt, 2005). From the anthologist who brought us COOL SALSA, this new collection reaches farther and deeper, chronicling the perspective of young Latinos today. Includes helpful glossary and biographical notes. Featured poets include Gary Soto. Ages 12-up. More on this title from Cynsations; read The Story Behind the Story from Lori M. Carlson.

RUSH HOUR: A JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY VOICES (Vol. 1): Sin, edited by Michael Cart (Delacorte, 2004). Not just short stories, but a literary array that should satisfy thoughtful teens (with both long and short attention spans), the first installment of Cart’s journal shows what can be accomplished by young adult literature at its best. Featuring short stories like Brock Cole’s “A Life of Crime” and Alex Flinn’s “Intrinsic Value,” the volume seems as familiar as an anthology, but then by adding such features as Martin Matje’s graphic exploration in “Sinphony,” poetry by Nikki Grimes, and essays by Hazel Rochman (on the Holocaust) and Marc Aronson (on the Salem Witch trials), Cart has taken his collection to a new, more diverse and exciting level. Definitely proof that YA lit has come of age. Contributers also include Joan Bauer, Emma Donoghue, David Pabian, Mark Podwal, Tom Feelings, Terry Davis, Sonya Sones, Gary Miller, R. Gregory Christie, Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, Chris Lynch, and Ron Koertge. Ages 12-up. .

SHATTERED: STORIES OF CHILDREN AND WAR edited by Jennifer Armstrong (Knopf, 2002). A young adult short stories collection, set in the U.S. and abroad, including in Afghanistan. Featured authors include Dian Curtis Regan. Ages 12-up.

SideshowSIDESHOW: TEN ORIGINAL TALES OF FREAKS, ILLUSIONISTS AND OTHER MATTERS ODD AND MAGICAL edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009). Contributing authors: David Almond, Aimee Bender, Cecil Castellucci, Shawn Cheng, Annette Curtis Klause, Margo Lanagan, Danica Norgorodoff, Matt Phelan, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Vivian Vande Velde. Ages 12-up.

SUCH A PRETTY FACE: SHORT STORIES ABOUT BEAUTY edited by Ann Angel (Abrams, 2007) A stellar line-up of young adult writers examines our relationship with beauty in stories that haunt, amuse, stir, and fascinate. A beauty queen with a chin-hair problem, an aspiring model who would rather take pictures than be in them, a boy in love with the gorgeous nurse he’s never seen, a girl named Beauty who feels like anything but—the teenagers in these dozen stories feel the power of beauty, whether it’s to trap, save, torment, or comfort. In an era when image seems to have triumphed over virtue and reason, this timely, discussion-provoking collection asks young readers to think about what is truly beautiful.  Ages 14-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

THINGS I’LL NEVER SAY edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick Press, 2015). A baby no one knows about. A dangerous hidden identity. Off-limits hookups. A parent whose problems your friends won’t understand. Everyone keeps secrets—from themselves, from their families, from their friends—and secrets have a habit of shaping the lives around them. Acclaimed author Ann Angel brings together some of today’s most gifted YA authors to explore, in a variety of genres, the nature of secrets: Do they make you stronger or weaker? Do they alter your world when revealed? Do they divide your life into what you’ll tell and what you won’t? The one thing these diverse stories share is a glimpse into the secret self we all keep hidden. Ages 14-up. More on this title from Cynsations. Compiled from promotional materials.

THICKER THAN WATER: COMING OF AGE STORIES BY IRISH AND IRISH-AMERICAN WRITERS edited by Gordon Snell (Delacorte, 2001). A fascinating and much-needed young adult collection, highlighted by “One Day When We Were Young” by Vincent Banville and “Off Ya Go, So” by Chris Lynch. Ages 12-up.

TWELVE SHOTS edited by Harry Mazer (Delacorte, 1997). This short-story collection looks at gun use from a variety of perspectives. Not preachy but not sugar-coated either. A worthy realism read. Top contributing authors include Walter Dean Myers, Chris Lynch, Richard Peck, and Nancy Werlin. Ages 12-up.

VIOLENT ENDS, edited by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon Pulse, 2015). In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen YA writers come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting. Ages 14-up.

A WOLF AT THE DOOR AND OTHER RETOLD FAIRY TALES edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Simon & Schuster, 2000). A collection of retellings by Delia Sherman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cadnum, Nancy Farmer, Tanith Lee, Janeen Webb, Kelly Link, Katherine Vaz, Garth Nix, Kathe Koja, Gregory Maguire, Patricia A. McKillip, and Jane Yolen. Worth the price of the book for Yolen’s depiction of the birds in “Cinder Elephant,” but many other great stories. Ages 10-up.

Journals and Magazines

Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology from Emily  X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma. PEEK: “…online venue for young adult short stories, with a commitment to showcasing underrepresented voices, boosting emerging writers, and highlighting the beauty and power of YA fiction. Each month, for one full calendar year, we will publish a new issue featuring three stellar YA stories. Among these will be original work from acclaimed writers, plus brand-new voices you haven’t heard from before who have been specially selected by your favorite authors.”

Hunger Mountain – VCFA Journal of the Arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts. PEEK: “…a print journal of the arts. We publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, young adult and children’s writing, and literary miscellany. Our print issue comes out annually in the spring.”