Six Great Time Travel Classics for Kids

What makes a book a classic? Time–it has to have been around long enough to withstand the test of the years. (When a reviewer says a book is “an instant classic”, it really isn’t yet, s/he just thinks it might become one. :)) Second, the book has to address universal issues that resonate with readers. On the other hand, the story cannot have too many details that limit its appeal to a particular time or place. For example, I’ve read a couple of books written in the eighties that rely heavily on references to fashion of that period that made me roll my eyes repeatedly.  However, there are books that I love precisely for their old-fashioned quaintness, but I did not include them on this list if I was constantly reminded “Wow, how the world has changed” while reading them. Popular opinion probably matters more than I would like to admit, because I believe books exist that deserve to be considered classics that are not, while others that are considered classics may not deserve the designation. But I won’t put books on this list that are classics (i.e. Edward Eager’s The Time Garden) but that I found a chore to finish. The following are books that have captivated generations of readers, including me. This list is a work in progress, and I’ll be adding to it as I discover more books that I think belong here. Suggestions are welcome!

Clicking on “my review” will bring you to my post on that book. Clicking the Goodreads link at the end of the post will bring you to a list of 131(!) time travel books. The Goodreads list is a great resource that includes reader reviews of some of the books on this list as well as of so many more.

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce, 1958. When a boy staying at his Aunt and Uncle’s home goes outside at night, he finds the simple yard has transformed  into a Victorian garden, and he makes friends with a girl from that era whom he meets there. My review.



Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer, 1969. Loads of  atmospheric charm in a boarding school setting. My review.



Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman, 1973. Rolf becomes de facto leader of hundreds of kids on a pilgrimage through Europe with a final goal that seems questionable to Rolf. My review.



The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, 1980. What kid wouldn’t want to take care of a miniature person, at least for a little while? My review.



Children of Winter by Berlie Doherty, 1985. Set during the Great Plague. Do you take care of people dying of a highly contagious fatal disease and risk contracting it yourself, or leave them to die? My review.



Castle In the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop, 1994. Ten-year-old William must grow up a little, and also vanquish a foe in this engaging story. My review.



Visit this fabulous Goodreads list, Timeslip in Children’s Fiction!


About Susan

I blog about middle grade and YA time travel books. I'm the author of Time Jump Coins.
This entry was posted in "Best of" books list, Book review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Six Great Time Travel Classics for Kids

  1. Pingback: Six Great Time Travel Classics for Kids — – Suman D. Freelancer

  2. The only book I’m somewhat familiar with is The Indian in the Cupboard. You are starting a good list of great Time Travel classic books for kids. Does the classic Chronicles of Narnia fit? Do they have to written before a certain date?

  3. What an awesome list! Thanks for putting this together. I’ll be sharing it with many time travel loving kids.

  4. This is a neat post. Thanks for all the links and information. I do love a good time travel book now and then.

  5. dawnwairimu says:

    I love these suggestions! I am always intrigued by time travel. I actually just wrote a blogpost about an imaginary time-travel scenario! 🙂 Thanks for this interesting read!

  6. I used to love time travel books when I was younger, great post 🙂

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