What determines the best short stories for children can really be summarised in a few words.
1. What do you really want for your kids to experience?
Are the sort stories purely for entertainment and to pass some time as a hobby?
Do you want to teach your child something specific, like manners, taking turns, dealing with bullies, taking care of a new baby etc?
I think you get my drift.
Now once you have this part worked out, the rest becomes a whole lot easier.
Now you know the type of content you are looking for because you have an end in mind.
3. Age approprite content
Next you need to consider the childs age. Whe it comes to short stories for children, you need to ensure you get an age appropriate book. Too young and its won't challenge them enough, too mature for them and the content will go over their head and won't hold their interest.
4. Age appropriate presentation
With your childs age in consideration, now you need to select a book that is visually stimulating particularly for younger age groups with fewer words, and ones that have more appropriate pictures and text or text only for older children. Particularly older kids will not want to read anything they consider too "babyish" for them.
5. Well written content
Ensure the book is well written first before purchasing. Slang, words that make no sense, etc will do your child no favors and if anything will serve to confuse them as they learn to expand their english vocabulary
6. Questionble or problematic content?
Again back to content. I have come across some books with pretty dubious content and some awful clangers that will raise more problems and questions in a child. Even books deemed suitable for younger age groups have raised questionable topics in what would appear to be quite "innocent" books, so please be aware!
7. How it all ends
Cast your eyes to the end of the book. Does it look like an appropriate ending for a book. I remember one child in floods of tears reading a book, and at the end of the book, the child who was missing from school died and the child struggled badly with this idea and it took her a long time to get over the fear of being absent from school or having class mates "out sick" also, so again, something to consider. If in doubt, type in the book name and type review next to it to see what others are saying about the book.
8. Attention and concentration span
What is the attention and concentration span like for the reader? Although short stories for kids are just that, they need to contain just the right amount of information for them to hold their interest and keep them turning the page. Even if you have to read to them, still they need to be able to listen to and connect with the story.
9. Particular interest or hobby
Of course, if a child has a particular interest, chosing books in that category is something that makes sense unless of course you want them to expand their interests. Try to chose books that will stimulate and challenge a little so their reading will evolve.
10. Books to remember and keep
Some books are life long companion type of books and will stick with your child for years, especially books in a series will end up being firm favorites when your child likes the writing style of the author.
For kids with active imaginations, or even kids whose imaginations you want to expand and develop, chose books with less or no visuals. Once of course there is sufficient descriptive content to set the scene for the story in their minds. In this case, ensure the child can read in a quiet place or you read to your child where you won't be disturbed. Set the scene using descriptive language, change your tone and expressions so your child will follow along and get absorbed in the story.
On a parting note, remember books make faithful friends, expand the mind, develop the expressive vocabulary, pass many hours of wonderful time in places you can only enter through your mind and give your child the very best life has to offer. Happy reading and I really hope you find these factors helpful in finding the best short stories for children.