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I have to confess we are total time travel junkies in our house.
We have been known to get ever so mildly obsessed with Doctor Who.
And in those lulls of inactivity from the Doctor, we lap up time travel books.
And these are just a few of our fave time travel books for kids.
Now I don’t want to mislead you.
If your kids – and you! – are mad about Doctor Who, these are not all identikit Doctor Who sci-fi style time travel books for kids.
But if your kids have got all interested in ideas about time travel – and particularly travelling to the past – these could be right up their street.
And even if your kids aren’t already mad time travel fans, these are all great reads in their own right.
7 BRILLIANT TIME TRAVEL BOOKS FOR KIDS
1. The Queen Must Die
This was a recommendation from our totally amazing, local kids book shop and the whole trilogy went down a storm.
Katie a put upon New York teenager is transported back to Victorian London by a diary she is reading. Standard time travel are you might be thinking.
But (spoilers!) Katie gets thrown into the very heart of an inter-galactic plot to assassinate Queen Victoria and that’s just the start of it all!
The basic detective story plot of The Queen Must Die, and its sequels, keeps you turning the pages, and the intergalactic time travel certainly cooks up some surprises. Still, author KAS Quinn delivers on the history as well.
2. Amazing Mr Blunden
The Amazing Mr Blundn is a fairly short book, so very accessible for lots of kids and uses some classic themes from kids’ literature (orphans, cruel relations) to explore that big thorny time travel question the Doctor always has to wrestle with whether you can actually change time and what happens if you do.
Written in the 60s and made into a popular film, it’s a brilliant read.
3. A Traveller In Time
Written in 1939, A Traveller In Time by Alison Uttley has to be one of the first time travel books for kids.
The time travel here is very simple – no tardis!. But the challenge is not just can heroine Penelope change time but can she change history?
Staying with her uncle and aunt in an ancient house that once belonged to the Babbington family, Penelope finds herself back at the heart of the Babbington Plot to free Mary Queen of Scots and destroy Queen Elizabeth.
Very deservedly republished by Penguin, Traveller In Time is a beautifully written book that opens up Elizabethan history to kids.
4. Tom’s Midnight Garden
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce is another beautifully written book that shows you don’t need tech to explore the idea that time – as the Doctor said – is all a bit “wibbly wobbly” and not really linear at all.
When lonely Tom has to go and stay with his aunt and uncle he makes friends with a girl in a garden in the past he can only reach when the clock strikes 13. Is he asleep? Is the girl a ghost? Is he? Or is there some other connection across time between him and his new friend?
A wonderful read for kids AND parents.
5. A Wrinkle In Time
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle has to be one of the absolute classic sci-fi books for kids. If you didn’t read when you were young, do read it with your kids.
Misfit Meg Murray gets dragged into a conflict between darkness and light over time as she travels through time in search of her missing scientist father. And eventually comes to realise that she has a power beyond those of the fearsome IT!
6. A Stitch In Time
Maria, the heroine of Penelope Lively’s A Stitch In Time is yet another lonely child with hidden powers.
She can talk not only to cats but to petrol stations and much more!
And on holiday in Lyme Regis – on England’s Jurrasic Coast – she begins to hear echoes of the past, and a terrible accident more than 100 years ago that somehow she needs to prevent.
You may remember Helen Cresswell’s Moondial from when it was on TV back in the 90s.
It’s a wonderful eery book that seems at first as if it is a ghost story, but again the heroine Minty has to travel in time to change the past, but with the danger, she may never escape it!
So there you go – my current favourite time travel books for kids. We promise to keep adding to it as we read more, but please do in exchange, tell us all about your faves!
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.
Wednesday 22nd of January 2020
Toms Midnight Garden is one of my all time favorite books. I read it as a child in England (I’m 54 now) and have chosen it for my elementary school book club. I have read it to my own children and have yet to read the end without crying. Thank you for including it.