Learn English Easy with “The 10 Best ESL Stories for Children” through engaging original stories designed for children learning English. Whether you are learning English as a Second Language (ESL) or seeking to improve your new language skills, you will find benefit from the quality of writing as well as the values taught in these short stories. For speech practice please join our CHILDREN’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL and read / listen together to improve your speech.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 1: David and the Swift Horse

David and Midnight - Ten Tall Tales

The Beginning of an Unlikely Friendship

In a small village nestled in the lush foothills of towering mountains, there lived a young boy named David. At ten years old, David, with his slim build and clear, blue eyes, was known for his adventurous spirit and vivid imagination. He often daydreamed of exploring the vast landscapes that lay beyond his home.

David riding Midnight - Ten Tall Tales

David and Midnight riding across a green meadow with the sunset and mountains in the background

Midnight: A Horse Like No Other

One sunny morning, David stumbled upon a horse unlike any he had ever seen. The horse was majestic, with a coat as dark as midnight and eyes that sparkled with intelligence. The horse was swift and seemed to dance with the wind. David was instantly captivated and felt a deep connection with this magnificent creature.

Adventures with Midnight

They quickly became friends, and David named the horse Midnight. Together, they explored the foothills, racing against the breeze and basking in the freedom of the open lands. David felt alive and exhilarated whenever he was with Midnight.

The Grand Race

The villagers soon announced a grand race to the mountain peak, a challenge that excited the entire village. David, with his newfound confidence and his swift companion Midnight, decided to participate. The race was the talk of the village, with strong competitors from nearby towns joining in.

Midnight in the race - Ten Tall Tales

David and Midnight race through the trees and across a stream with other horses close behind.

A Test of Friendship and Compassion

On the day of the race, David and Midnight stood at the starting line, surrounded by seasoned racers. The air buzzed with excitement and anticipation. As the race began, David and Midnight surged forward, their hearts pounding in unison.

The True Meaning of Victory

They led the pack, with Midnight’s powerful strides eating up the distance. However, as the sun climbed higher, its rays beating down mercilessly, Midnight began to slow down. Concerned, David steered Midnight towards a shady tree. He realized that winning wasn’t as important as taking care of his friend.

David and Midnight rest beside the stream

While they rested, other racers sped past them. David soothed Midnight, offering him water and words of comfort. As Midnight regained his strength, David’s resolve deepened. They resumed the race, not with the intention to win, but to complete it together.

Heroes of the Village

They finally crossed the finish line, long after the others. However, to David’s surprise, they were greeted with cheers and admiration from the villagers. David and Midnight had shown remarkable courage and kindness, qualities that were more commendable than winning.

Legacy of Friendship

From that day on, David and Midnight were seen as heroes in the village. They continued to explore the foothills and beyond, their bond unbreakable and their spirits free. David had learned that true victory lay in friendship and compassion, lessons he would carry with him always.

In the shadow of the mountains, a boy and his horse had written their own tale of adventure, one that would be told for generations to come.


  1. Foothills: Small hills located at the base of a mountain.
  2. Majestic: Having impressive beauty or dignity.
  3. Exhilarated: Feeling very excited and energetic.
  4. Anticipation: The action of expecting something.
  5. Resolve: Firm determination to do something.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 2: The Misadventure of the False Alarm

Alex and Jamie

The Thrill of Mischief

In a small, peaceful town, were two teenage friends, Alex and Jamie, known for their love of excitement and a bit of mischief. They shared a peculiar hobby: tricking the local fire department by falsely reporting fires just to see the fire trucks rush by.

Alex, the more daring of the two, would often make the call from a payphone, reporting a fire at an empty lot or an abandoned warehouse. Jamie, always eager to join in, would stand by, waiting for the sound of sirens. They found a thrill in watching the fire trucks speed past, lights flashing and sirens blaring.

alex and jamie peeking

Alex and Jamie hide around the corner and watch firetrucks speed by.

Consequences of Pranks

However, their mischief had consequences. The townspeople grew increasingly frustrated, and the fire department was wary of these false alarms. The chief of the fire department even warned the town about the dangers of such pranks.

A Turn of Fate

One dry, windy afternoon, as fate would have it, a fire broke out for real. Smoke billowed from the attic of Jamie’s house, caused by a forgotten, overheated iron. Panicked, Jamie called for help, however, the fire department was slow to respond, suspecting another false alarm.

Jamies house is smoking

Jamie’s house with smoke billowing out of the upstairs windows.

The Harsh Reality of Their Actions

By the time the firefighters arrived, the fire had caused significant damage to Jamie’s home. The sight of his charred belongings and the realization of the danger they had put everyone in affected the friends with anguish. The guilt of their actions weighed heavily on them, and they vowed to never misuse emergency services again.

Jamies house is badly burned

The scene of the real fire at Jamie’s house, with firefighters working to extinguish the flames.

Lessons Learned and New Paths

Years passed, and Alex and Jamie grew up, their childhood pranks a distant memory. However, the lessons they learned stayed with them. Alex pursued a career as a firefighter, dedicating his life to saving others from the very danger they once took lightly. Jamie became a health and safety officer, committed to educating people about fire safety and the responsible use of emergency services.

Their experiences as teenagers led them to careers where they could make amends for their past and ensure the safety of their community. The friends, once known for their reckless pranks, became respected members of the town, their story serving as a cautionary tale about the consequences of crying wolf.


  1. Mischief: Playful misbehavior or trouble-making.
  2. Payphone: A public telephone that operates with coins.
  3. Billowed: To swell or puff out.
  4. Charred: Burned and blackened.
  5. Consequences: A result or effect of an action or condition.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 3: The Tale of Two Brothers and Their Houses

Ethan and Liam are brothers

The Brothers’ Choices

In a small, cozy town, lived two brothers, Ethan and Liam, who were as different as night and day. Their father, seeing them grow into young men, decided to give them each a sum of money to build their own homes.

Ethan, the older brother, was always known for his hard work and careful planning. He used his money to build a sturdy house made of concrete and steel. Day after day, Ethan worked diligently, paying attention to every detail, ensuring his house was strong and durable.

Liam, the younger brother, preferred the easy way in life. He chose to build his house out of wood, which was cheaper and quicker to construct. With the money he saved, Liam planned a vacation trip, dreaming of beaches and sunshine. His wooden house was built swiftly, and while it looked nice, it wasn’t nearly as strong as Ethan’s.

Ethan and Liam building house

Ethan works hard on his concrete and steel house, while Liam builds his wooden house.

The Test of the Storm

Not long after, a severe storm hit their town. It was a result of the changing climate. It was the worst storm the town had ever seen, with fierce winds and heavy rain. Ethan’s house, made of concrete and steel, stood firm against the storm. Inside, Ethan was safe and dry.

Liam’s wooden house, however, couldn’t withstand the storm’s fury. The wind howled, the rain pounded, and soon, the wooden house began to creak and groan. Eventually, it could no longer hold up and collapsed, leaving Liam without a home.

One house stands in the storm

The storm rages, showing Ethan’s sturdy house standing firm and Liam’s wooden house collapsing.

A Lesson Learned in Hardship

Seeing his brother in distress, Ethan opened his home to Liam. As they sat together, safe within the sturdy walls, Liam realized the importance of hard work and planning for the future. He regretted not building a stronger house and learned a valuable lesson from his brother.

Building a Future Together

Years later, both brothers rebuilt Liam’s house, this time with Ethan’s guidance. They built it strong and sturdy, just like Ethan’s. Liam had learned to go the extra mile, just like his brother, and together, they prepared for whatever the future might hold.


  1. Diligently: Working hard and carefully.
  2. Sturdy: Strong and not easily broken.
  3. Durable: Able to last and remain in good condition.
  4. Fury: Wild or violent anger, often used to describe nature’s force.
  5. Regretted: Felt sorry about something that has happened.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 4: The Giraffe and the High Leaves

mother giraffe and calf at palm tree

Grace and Leo’s Quest for Food

In the vast savannah, under the warm African sun, lived a mother giraffe and her baby, known as a calf. The mother, named Grace, was tall and elegant, with a coat of spots that blended beautifully with the golden grasses around her. Her calf, little Leo, was full of curiosity and energy, always eager to explore.

While wandering through the savannah one day, they came across a tall palm tree. Its leaves were lush and green, swaying gently in the breeze, high above their heads. Grace stretched her long neck as far as she could, but the leaves remained just out of reach. Disappointed, she turned to Leo and said, “Those leaves are probably not tasty anyway. Let’s find something else to eat.”

The Elusive Palm Tree

baby giraffe cannot reach leaves

Grace and Leo look longingly at the high leaves on the palm.

A Growing Hunger

mother giraffe and calf walking through desert

Grace and Leo walk away from the Lucious palm tree and head into the dry savannah looking for food.

As the days passed, food became scarce in their part of the savannah. Leo grew hungry, his little stomach rumbling. He kept thinking about the high leaves on the palm tree. They looked so delicious, and he wished they could find a way to reach them.

Bella’s Wisdom

Then, one sunny afternoon, another giraffe came wandering by. She was older and wiser, with a gentle look in her eyes. Her name was Bella. Seeing Grace and Leo’s dilemma, she offered to help. “Sometimes, we can reach higher together than alone,” she said.

Grace and Bella push the palm tree over so that the calf can eat

Grace, and Bella push the palm tree over so Leo the baby giraffe can eat.

The Power of Teamwork

Bella showed them a clever trick. She leaned against the palm tree, pushing it slightly to the side. The once unreachable leaves lowered towards the ground. Grace realized that with Bella’s help, they could reach the leaves. Together, they took turns holding the tree while the other ate.

A Lesson Learned

The leaves were as delicious as they looked, and Leo’s hunger was finally satisfied. Grace thanked Bella for her kindness and wisdom. She learned an important lesson that day: not to dismiss something just because it seems out of reach, and the value of cooperation and teamwork.

Grace, Leo, and Bella spent many more days together, sharing the bounty of the savannah and the shade of the palm tree. Grace often remembered her hasty words about the leaves and smiled, grateful for the lesson she had learned and the friend they had made.


  1. Savannah: A large, flat area of land with grass and very few trees, especially in Africa.
  2. Elegant: Graceful and stylish in appearance.
  3. Scarce: Not enough of something; rare.
  4. Dilemma: A situation where a difficult choice has to be made.
  5. Cooperation: Working together to achieve a common goal.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 5: The Elephant, the Calf, and the Villager

Maya and Calf

Maya and Her Calf: A Mother’s Protection

In a dense forest near a small village, there lived a mother elephant and her calf. The mother, named Maya, was very large and had always been feared by the villagers. With the birth of her calf, Maya became even more protective and hostile, guarding her little one with fierce love.

  • A ferocious mother elephant and her calf*

The Calf’s Peril

One sunny day, a frightening situation unfolded. The calf, playful and curious, wandered too close to a deep mud hole and got stuck. Maya tried desperately to free her calf, but she couldn’t do it alone. Her rumbling cries of distress echoed through the forest.


Calf stuck in mud hole and mother helpless to get the calf out of the hole.

A Villager’s Courageous Act

A villager named Arun heard the commotion and cautiously approached the scene. Despite the villagers’ fear of Maya, Arun’s heart went out to the distressed mother and her calf. He knew he had to help.

The Rescue

Arun quickly thought of a plan. He fetched a strong rope and carefully approached Maya. To his surprise, Maya allowed him to come close, understanding that he wanted to help. Arun attached the rope around Maya, using her great strength to aid in the rescue.


Arun tied a rope around mother elephant to pull calf out of the hole.

A New Bond

Together, they worked tirelessly. Arun guided Maya, and with a mighty pull, the calf was slowly lifted from the mud hole. Maya’s joy was evident as she tenderly nuzzled her calf, now safe and sound.

A New Relationship

From that day on, a bond formed between Arun and Maya. The villagers, witnessing this act of bravery and kindness, began to see Maya in a new light. They realized that even the most feared creatures could be friends.

Maya’s New Role in the Village

Arun had an idea to benefit both the village and Maya. He built a harness and attached a plow to Maya. With her incredible strength, Maya helped to break the ground for the village gardens. The villagers were amazed at how much easier their work became with Maya’s help.


Maya pulling a plow for the villagers

A Cherished Member of the Community

Maya, once feared, became a cherished member of the village. She and her calf roamed freely, always welcomed by the grateful villagers. Arun’s act of kindness had changed the relationship between the village and the forest’s gentle giants.


  1. Dense: Thick and closely packed together.
  2. Hostile: Unfriendly or aggressive.
  3. Rumbling: A deep, continuous sound.
  4. Distressed: Feeling or showing extreme unhappiness or pain.
  5. Harness: A set of straps and fittings by which an animal is fastened to a cart, plow, etc., and is controlled by its driver.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 6: The Boy, the Ice Cream, and the Vanishing Groceries


Tommy’s Task

In a small town bustling with activity, there lived a young boy named Tommy. One sunny afternoon, Tommy was tasked with an important chore: to bring home the family groceries. Eager to be helpful, he loaded all the bags into his little red wagon and started pulling it home.

A Tempting Detour

As Tommy walked down the busy street, he passed by Mr. Swensen’s Ice Cream Store. The delicious smell of fresh waffles and the sight of colorful ice creams made his mouth water. Just then, he noticed a man sitting in a wheelchair outside the store.


Tommy talking to the man in the wheelchair, deciding to buy the ice cream.

The Offer and the Decision

The man called out to Tommy. “Hey there, young man! Could you do me a favor? I’d like an ice cream but can’t go inside. Could you buy one for me and get one for yourself too? Here’s the money,” he said, handing Tommy some bills.

A Shocking Discovery

Inside the store, Tommy was greeted with a blast of cool air and the sweet smell of ice cream. He took his time choosing the flavors, excited about his treat. Finally, with two ice creams in hand, he walked back outside.

To his shock, the wheelchair was there, but the man was gone! Even worse, his wagon full of groceries was nowhere to be seen. Tommy looked up and down the street, but there was no sign of the man or the groceries.


Tommy comes outside to discover the man, the wagon, and the groceries are gone. Only the wheelchair remains. Tommy is shocked.

A Hard Lesson Learned

Feeling upset and fooled, Tommy realized he had been tricked. The man had used the offer of ice cream to distract him while he made off with the groceries. Tommy learned a hard lesson that day about being cautious and not too trusting with strangers.

Facing the Consequences

As he walked home, ice cream in hand but without the groceries, Tommy decided to tell his parents the truth. They were disappointed but glad that Tommy was safe. They used this moment to teach him about being more careful and aware of his surroundings.


Tommy wears his university graduation garments and hat, demonstrating his new wisdom.

A Lesson for a Lifetime

Tommy’s experience became a cautionary tale in the neighborhood. “A fool and his money are easily parted,” the neighbors would say. But for Tommy, it was more than just a saying; it was a lesson he would remember for the rest of his life.


  1. Bustling: Full of busy activity.
  2. Chore: A routine task, especially a household one.
  3. Cautious: Being careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.
  4. Tricked: Deceived or fooled.
  5. Cautionary tale: A story that warns about the consequences of certain actions or behaviors.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 7: The Woodworker’s Dream and Reality


Jack’s Passion for Woodworking

In a quaint little village, there lived a young father named Jack, known for his skillful hands and creative mind. Jack worked at a local factory, a job that provided a steady income for his family but left little room for his passion for woodworking.

The Leap of Faith

One day, inspired by a dream of running his own business, Jack decided to make a bold move. He would leave his secure job at the factory to open a woodworking shop at home. His heart was set on creating beautiful furniture and crafts, selling them to the villagers.

Challenges of the Dream

His family and friends cautioned him, warning Jack of the risks. “It’s a big gamble,” they said. “You’re chasing a rainbow, leaving security for uncertainty.” But Jack, fueled by his dreams, was determined to succeed.


Jack working in his new woodworking shop, filled with hope and determination.

Reality Bites

Jack converted a small room at home into his workshop. Day and night, he toiled, crafting tables, chairs, and decorative items. However, the reality of running a business was harder than he had imagined. The villagers admired his work, but few were willing to buy his expensive creations.

Facing Financial Struggles

Months passed, and the financial strain began to take its toll. The bills piled up, and the stress grew. Jack’s dream, once so vivid and promising, started to fade. He realized that his pursuit of a dream had cost him the security he once had.


Jack is stressed because he cannot pay his bills.

Return to Stability

Feeling defeated, Jack reached out to his father, a well-respected figure in the village. His father, seeing his son’s distress, used his influence to help Jack get his old job back at the factory.

A Lesson in Practicality

Jack returned to work, his dream of the woodworking shop put aside. He learned a valuable lesson: not all dreams lead to success, and sometimes, chasing a rainbow can lead to losing what you already have.

Though he continued woodworking as a hobby, Jack’s experience taught him to appreciate the stability and security of his job. He realized that dreams are important, but so is being practical and valuing what you have.


  1. Quaint: Attractively unusual or old-fashioned.
  2. Toiled: Worked hard.
  3. Strain: Pressure or tension.
  4. Vivid: Producing powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind.
  5. Practical: Sensible and realistic in approach.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 8: A Bird in the Hand is Better Than Two Rabbits in the Bush

Tom’s Survival Challenge

In a vast and wild forest, there lived a man named Tom. One day, while exploring the dense woods, Tom lost his way. As hours turned into days, he became hungry and desperate for food.

The Opportunity

One chilly morning, Tom spotted a small bird perched on a low branch. With great effort and patience, he managed to catch the bird. Holding it in his hand, he felt a sense of relief. The bird was not much, but it was enough to ease his hunger.

Temptation and Loss

As Tom prepared to make a meal of the bird, he heard a rustling in the bushes. He looked up and saw two rabbits hopping nearby. They seemed plump and would make a much more satisfying meal than the small bird in his hand.

Tom releasing the bird and lunging towards the rabbits, hoping to catch them.

A Lesson in Contentment

Greedy for a better meal, Tom made a quick decision. He released the bird and lunged towards the rabbits, hoping to catch at least one. But the rabbits were quick and cunning. They darted through the bushes, disappearing into the forest.

Realization and Regret

As night fell, Tom sat alone and hungry, regretting his decision. He realized that in his greed for more, he had lost the sure meal he already had. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” he thought sadly, learning a valuable lesson about contentment and the dangers of greed.

Moral of the Story: It’s better to be content with what you have than to risk losing it by greedily chasing after something more.

Chapter 9: The Monkey and the Coconut

Miko’s Jungle Adventure

In the heart of a lush tropical jungle, where colorful birds sang and the sun danced through the leaves, there lived a young monkey named Miko. Miko was known for his curiosity and playful nature, always exploring and learning new things.

The Challenge of the Coconut

One hot afternoon, while swinging from branch to branch, Miko spotted something interesting on the jungle floor. It was a coconut, round and hard, with a tough shell.

Miko spots the coconut.

The Struggle to Open the Coconut

Miko had tasted coconut before and loved its sweet, refreshing water. But this coconut was whole, and its shell was too hard to crack open with his hands or teeth.

Miko cannot break the coconut.

A Clever Solution

As he sat pondering, Miko’s eyes landed on a large rock nearby. An idea sparked in his clever mind. He grabbed the rock with both hands and lifted it high above the coconut. With all his strength, Miko brought the rock crashing down onto the coconut.

Miko using a rock to try and break open the coconut.

Success and Sharing the Knowledge

To Miko’s delight, the coconut cracked open, revealing its sweet water and soft flesh. He eagerly drank the water and enjoyed the fruit, feeling proud of his accomplishment.

Miko is happy!

Miko’s Ingenuity Benefits All

Word of Miko’s cleverness spread throughout the jungle. Other monkeys came to see how he had solved the problem. They watched as Miko demonstrated his technique, and soon, they were all using rocks to open coconuts.

The Impact of Miko’s Discovery

Miko had not only quenched his thirst but had also taught his friends a valuable skill. From that day on, whenever the monkeys found coconuts, they knew just what to do.


  1. Lush: Very green and full of life.
  2. Inquisitive: Curious and wanting to learn more about something.
  3. Pondering: Thinking deeply about something.
  4. Ingenuity: Being clever, original, and inventive.

ESL Stories for Children
Chapter 10: The Pioneer Family and the Valley of Choice

The Family’s Journey


Once upon a time, in the early days of pioneering, there was a family that lived high up on a mountain. The family, consisting of a father, a mother, and their two children, had traveled far to find a new home. They were hardworking and brave, facing the challenges of the wild with determination and hope.

The Crossroads of Decision

One day, while exploring the mountain, they came upon a crossroads. To the left, they saw a land scorched by fire, with smoke rising into the sky. It was a place of warmth and light, but the smoke made it hard to breathe, and the ground was dry and barren.

Choices are often difficult.

The Dilemma Between Fire and Rain


To the right, there was a land covered in rain and clouds. It was cool and wet, offering plenty of water but very little sunshine. The land was lush, but the constant rain made it difficult to travel and work.

The Discovery of the Valley

The family stood at the crossroads, unsure of which direction to take. As they pondered their choice, the father noticed a narrow path leading down the mountain to a valley below. Curious, the family followed the path and discovered a beautiful sight.


The family discovering the beautiful valley with the lake.

A New Beginning

It was a valley with a sparkling lake, surrounded by green trees and blooming flowers. The air was clear and smoke-free, with just the right balance of sunshine and rain. The family knew they had found their new home, a place where they could have the best of both worlds.

The Valley’s Gifts

The valley provided them with everything they needed. The water from the lake was perfect for drinking and watering their crops. The sun gave them light and warmth, helping their plants grow strong and healthy.

A Legacy of Balance


As years passed, the family grew and prospered in the valley. They often remembered the day at the crossroads and were thankful for finding the valley that offered a balance of fire and rain. The pioneer family’s story spread to other travelers, teaching them an important lesson: sometimes the best choice is not one extreme or the other but a balance of both.


  1. Pioneering: Exploring and settling in new lands.
  2. Scorched: Burned on the surface.
  3. Barren: Land too poor to produce much vegetation.
  4. Lush: Having a lot of green, healthy plants.
  5. Prospered: Became successful, especially in financial or material terms.

10 Best ESL Stories for Children
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