Stack Overflow: Time Travel Books … for Kids!

13 min readNov 6, 2018

Posted on November 5, 2018 by Jonathan H. Liu

The end of Daylight Savings Time is like a little tiny taste of time travel. Poof! Here you are, with one extra hour in the day (though of course you’ll find yourself missing an hour in the spring). But that may be the closest I ever get to time travel at a rate other than the standard 1 second per second, so I try to get my fix through time travel stories. Whether driven by historical curiosity, scientific innovation, optimism about the future, or regrets about the past, time travel stories seem to confirm Dostoyevsky’s remark that there are only two stories: someone goes on a journey; a stranger comes to town. In these stories, people go on journeys where they become strangers, a fish out of water. Familiar places become unfamiliar through the lens of time.

Today’s collection of time travel stories is for kids — mostly middle grade readers, though I have a couple for even younger kids (arranged roughly in age order). Some are intended to be more educational in nature, and some are just for fun. The one thing I’ve noticed is that time travel for kids doesn’t always involve very detailed explanations of how the travel itself actually works — though some authors try harder than others. Let’s turn back (or forward) the clock and see where we end up!

T. Rex Time Machine by Jared Chapman

A time traveler heads back to prehistoric times and finds himself in the unfortunate situation of meeting two T. Rexes who are looking for a meal. Sniffing around, they decide that there must be food inside the time machine … and find themselves far, far in the future (aka the present day). They’re thrilled to find themselves in a world where food is everywhere, but when the cops show up, they make a hasty retreat.

Okay, so the time travel here is just done through a shiny contraption without any real details about how it works, but I’m not expecting too much realism from a picture book that has talking T. Rexes looking for donuts. Still, it’s an amusing way to get dinosaurs into the present day, scientific accuracy aside.


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