I love reading anthologies, as they allow me to discover new authors by giving me a glimpse into a few completely different stories. I am also a huge fan of short stories in general as I think the form really lends itself to creativity because writers have to create a whole world within a limited space. I also really like reading short stories because you can really divide and stretch out the reading experience. Reading a single story a day is a great way to keep your mind engaged with reading if you’re short on time. These anthologies also work great as audiobooks as you can listen to one story with ease on a commute, while running errands, gardening or doing any number of housework.
Now that my spiel is out of the way, here are some anthologies that include multiple authors in them for a variety of ages! While there are target/ideal readership ages (created by the publishers) for each anthology, I still think there’s no shame in reading an anthology for a younger audience. I personally love children’s fiction and there are so many great authors that write compelling stories for any audience.
All links will take you to the Vaughan Public Libraries catalogue where you can request these titles for yourself!
This anthology features stories by 17 Indigenous authors, with notes and information about the authors at the end of the book for further reading. With great writing and a solid introduction to new writers, readers will definitely want to seek out other stories by Native writers and learn more about Heartdrum, the publishing imprint behind this collection.
Flying Lessons & Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh. This anthology, made in partnership with We Need Diverse books, features a star-studded cast of children’s authors. Readers will no doubt recognize some of their favourite authors such as Soman Chainani and Jacqueline Woodson and the many other successful authors that make up this compelling and engaging collection.
Funny Girl, edited by Betsy Bird. Children looking for a funny read will be delighted to find Funny Girl, a hilarious anthology featuring 25 of the best women writers for children. Some notable contributors include Jennifer L. Holm, Raina Telgemeier and Amy Ignatow. Those looking to discover new authors will also be delighted as this collection also works as a wonderful introduction to new authors.
The Hero Next Door. Another partnership with We Need Diverse Books brings together even more critically acclaimed authors like Lamar Giles, Mike Jung, Ellen Oh and R.J. Palacio! This anthology focuses on heroes and small acts of kindness that can save the day.
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, edited by Aisha Saeed and S.K. Ali. While this anthology focuses on Eid, a holiday to mark the end of Ramadan, this wonderful anthology can be read year-round as it features amazing writing and compelling characters. Readers will be able to read stories by favourites like S.K. Ali, Aisha Saeed and G. Willow Wilson and perhaps find a new favourite author or two.
Color Outside the Lines, edited by Sangu Mandanna. This anthology “explores the complexity and beauty of interracial and LGBTQ+ relationships where differences are front and center” (official blurb). Not only is the topic a must-read, the author list includes some of my personal favourites like Anna-Marie McLemore, Karuna Riazia, Elsie Chapman and Adam Silvera. Fans of YA novels will easily recognize the authors and their gorgeous writing in this anthology that shows the reality of our interconnected world.
Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home, edited by Adi Alsaid. This anthology features immigration as its central theme, though the experiences of each character are different from one another. There is plenty to read and think about in this anthology, with writers who are all immigrants or children of immigrants themselves. Notable authors include Sona Charaipotra, Maurene Goo and Nafiza Azad.
Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love, edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond. This anthology focuses on the way food can bring connection and can symbolize any plethora of emotions. This collection includes stories in a wide range of genres such as fantasy, contemporary and even horror. Notable authors include Sandhya Menon, Jay Coles and Rin Chupeco.
A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance and Hope, edited by Patrice Caldwell. Fans of fantasy and sci-fi will be delighted to read this anthology featuring some of YA’s best writers such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Justina Ireland, and Rebecca Roanhorse. The official blurb truly describes this anthology best, “Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals.”
Together, Apart. This anthology focuses on contemporary love stories set during life in lockdown. While the theme is very topical, readers will enjoy the guarantee of a happy ending and discovering some new underrated authors like Sajni Patel, Auriane Desombre and Natasha Preston.
The Best American Short Stories (2018 edition), edited by Roxane Gay. The Best American Series publishes a number of collections each year, ranging from general short stories to sci-fi and even food writing. This particular selection is from 2018, with guest editor Roxane Gay. This collection includes a wide range of authors and themes. While some critics say that the book is too influenced by Roxane Gay’s editing (perhaps a subtle way of saying this collection is more diverse than in years past), I find that this actually unifies the collection and gives it an interesting lens through which to read it.
Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries & Lore, edited by Paula Guran. This sci-fi/fantasy anthology is unified through the theme of libraries! Featuring 24 stories and notable authors, I am positive that any reader looking for an interesting new read will be delighted by the stories in this collection.
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward. This collection, curated by the talented Jesmyn Ward, is created as a response to James Baldwin’s 1963 essay collection The Fire Next Time. Those interested in non-fiction and essays will enjoy this thought-provoking collection.
Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time, edited by Hope Nicholson. This short fantasy collection centers Indigenous voices and focuses on LGBT+ and two-spirit characters with the theme of love and self-love. While it is a fantasy/sci-fi collection, readers who do not particularly enjoy those genres will still find something to enjoy with the great writing and hopeful messages.
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction From 25 Extraordinary Writers, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams. This collection from 2019 features an impressive amount of best-selling and critically acclaimed authors as they write about a different and more hopeful America. As described in the blurb, “[The editors] asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in. They also asked that the stories be badass.” Notable authors include Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Seanan McGuire, Kai Cheng Thom, Daniel José Older.
Whether you’re already a fan of anthologies or whether you’re looking for recommendations, I hope that this list will help you get started! For even more short story recommendations, check out these Vaughan Public Libraries lists: