The Best Short Novels for Children: 7 Options

It's important for children to learn the habit of reading early on in life, and it's our job as parents to encourage them. These short novels for children will help you on your way.
The Best Short Novels for Children: 7 Options
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

With short novels for children, little ones can become avid and capable readers from an early age. For very small children, it’s important to choose books with illustrations and sounds, which captivate their attention.

As soon as your little ones begin to join letters and understand sentences, it’s time to move onto the next step. They’ll let you know when they’re ready to take on more elaborate texts.

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”

–Roald Dahl, Author–

During our first years of life, human beings use non-verbal language to give ourselves a voice. This later transforms into more specific communicative functions.

That’s why it’s so important to provide for a child’s proper development by offering the right tools. This involves providing literary works that are age appropriate during each stage of development.

Below, we’ll offer a collection of recommended short novels for children that will allow you to introduce your little ones to the wonderful world of reading.

The best short novels for children

1. The Little Prince

One of the most classic fantasy novels for children and adults who love to read is The Little Prince. The illustrated and fast-reading literary wonder tells the story of an encounter between the author and a young boy from another planet.

The book, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, consists of an attractive storyline and language that is easy to comprehend. As the years go by, and as you children develop critical judgment, they will discover profound reflections within the novel about the human condition.

7 Short Novels for Children

2. Hop-o’-my-Thumb

Hop-o’-my-Thumb, by Charles Perrault, tells the story of a poor family that leaves their children in the forest. There, the children encounter one adventure after another and face the dangers brought on by imaginary worlds. 

After many adventures, the tiny and heroic Hop-o’-my-Thumb manages to escape, return home and live happily ever after with his parents and siblings.

3. The Adventures Sherlock of Holmes (adapted for children)

Adaptations of literary classics aimed at children are becoming more and more common. These works allow children to discover genius narrations such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes is a detective with incredible intelligence and a great capacity to observe and resolve problems. It’s one of the short novels for children that will captivate their attention and encourage their creativity.

4. The Happy Prince

This classic fairy tale published in 1888 is part of a compilation written by Oscar Wilde. It tells the story of a statue of a prince that cries due to the pain and injustice he sees among the people of his town.

He had always believed that the world was a happy place, until he witnesses the reality of the defenseless. At the cost of his own life, he decides to help them, offering a lesson on values, principles and goodness.

5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

This is another piece of classic literature and is one of the best fantasy stories for children. Many adaptations have been made of this novel written by Lyman Frank Baum. Therefore, if you want to add another dimension to your children’s reading, you can show them a movie, go to the theater or read comics together.

7 Short Novels for Children

More short novels for children

6. Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots is a traditional French tale that has been included in numerous recompilations of traditional stories. It tells of the adventures of a young miller who has a clever cat for a pet, an animal that changes him completely, thanks to his sagacity. Over the course of the story, he goes from being poor and hopeless, to being a rich noble who marries the princess.

7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians

This 5-part saga written by Rick Riordan captivates children and teenagers alike. It tells the story of a young man who has a close and interesting relationship with Greek mythology .

The Percy Jachson series is an excellent means for learning about classic literature through text set in modern times. You can also watch the moves in order to provide context and motivation for your children.

As you can see, there are many interesting options available to encourage your little ones to fall in love with literature. These rich literary works will allow them to discover the world, different cultures, and language itself. Help them navigate the immense world of literature, and they’ll be sure to thank you for it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.