As someone who rarely reads fantasy titles, I hardly run into middle grade books about time travel unless they’re sci-fi. But when I do, it’s always a blast to take a trip someplace else in time. The books on this list are all about protagonists going back or ahead in time because of one freak accident or another. If you like time travel stories, you’ll love this list.
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20 Mind-Bending Middle Grade Books About Time Travel
Here are 20 of the best middle grade books about time travel:
12 to 22
Published: August 16, 2022
Turning 12 1/2 shouldn’t be the most exciting birthday in the world. It’s a half birthday after all. But Harper is thrilled because she is getting the biggest gift of all: her parent’s approval to finally get social media accounts.
Except when she goes to post her first photo, there is a filter she has never heard of before. One that shows you what you will look like when you are older. Curious, Harper clicks on it…but ends up flash forwarding in time to when she is 22.
She will quickly find that being in her twenties means the freedom she always wanted, money for the glow up she didn’t know she needed and working for her idol! But Harper soon discovers a lot more has changed than she expected—including the person she wants to be. Will Harper be able to use the filter to get the life of her dreams? Or will there be more glitches?
Published: January 18, 2022
Mason and Ty were once the very best of friends, like two nerdy sides of the same coin . . . until seventh grade, when Ava Petrakis came along. Now Mason can trace everything bad in his life to that terrible fight they had over the new girl. The one thing he’d give anything for is a do-over. But that can’t happen in real life—can it?
As a science kid, Mason knows do-overs are impossible, so he can’t believe it when he wakes up from a freak accident and finds himself magically transported back to seventh grade. His parents aren’t yet divorced and his beloved sheepdog is still alive. Best of all, he and Ty haven’t had their falling-out yet.
It makes no logical sense, but Mason is determined to use this second chance to not only save his friendship (and his dog!) but do other things differently—like trying out for the football team and giving new friends a chance. There’s just one person he’ll be avoiding at all costs: Ava. But despite his best efforts, will he be able to stop the chain of events that made his previous life implode?
Published: January 1, 2010
It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and she is super excited—after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell.
Published: April 16, 2019
Billionaire Miss Z might be out of the picture, but a top-secret agency wants to send Luke, Julia, David, and Isabel on one final mission. This time, the Flashback Four are headed to Weehawken, New Jersey—in 1804—to videotape the fateful duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
But once they arrive, the team faces a question of historic proportions: Should they capture the tragic details of the duel or try to change them?
Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats
Published: November 1, 2007
Art, Myrtle, and their mother accept the kind invitation of a holiday to an up-and-coming asteroid resort. But they set out with visions of rest and relaxation only to be sucked into a dastardly plot involving spies, time travel, and mind-altering clothing! Before their adventures are over, they’ll sail an aether-ship amid asteroid-strewn seas, dodge demonic puppets, and learn wisdom from an unlikely ally: the Moobs! With faster-than-light plot twists and enough tongue-in-cheek vim and vigor to keep a galaxy in laughter, this dynamic sequel to Larklight is a tour de force of the most intergalactic kind.
The Last Musketeer
Published: September 27, 2011
Greg Rich has just been catapulted back through time. One moment, his parents were selling their family heirlooms to Michel Dinicouer, a mysterious and suspicious curator at the Louvre in Paris — and the next thing Greg knows, he’s in France in 1615. His parents have come along, too, only they’ve been captured by the King’s Guard and thrown into La Mort, the world’s most dangerous prison. Now, Greg has to rescue them… but how?By uniting the Three Musketeers. Greg soon discovers that the three great warriors from Alexander Dumas’s classic novel actually exist — only they’re teenagers as well and haven’t met yet. Even stranger, Greg might just turn out to be the fourth Musketeer, D’Artagnan. Together, the Musketeers need to pull off an impossible, death-defying rescue — and unravel the devious plot of Dinicouer as well. Get ready for action, adventure and mystery in this new novel from the acclaimed writer of ‘Belly Up.’
When You Reach Me
Published: July 1, 2009
Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.
It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.
The Eye of Ra
Published: February 27, 2021
Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time traveled to ancient Egypt!
Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them . . . or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.
Amelia Earhart and the Flying Chariot
Published: June 25, 2019
Siblings Abby and Doc have been racing through time to fix history after Abraham Lincoln, Abigail Adams, and Neil Armstrong started popping up in the wrong places, at the wrong times. When Amelia Earhart accidentally lands her plane in Ancient Greece, Abby and Doc partner with Kyniska, the first woman to win the Olympics, to get Amelia back on track to finish her first solo flight across the Atlantic.
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
Published: April 2, 2019
Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town—and each other—before time stops for good.
Rescue on the Oregon Trail
Published: April 2, 2019
Meet Ranger! He’s a time-traveling golden retriever who has a nose for trouble . . . and always saves the day!Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog, but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott. Sam’s family is migrating west on the Oregon Trail, and soon after Ranger arrives he helps the boy save his little sister. Ranger thinks his job is done, but the Oregon Trail can be dangerous, and the Abbotts need Ranger’s help more than they realize!
Target Practice (Cleopatra in Space #1)
Published: April 29, 2014
When Cleo finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, really far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo’s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she’s going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!
Houdini and Me
Published: March 2, 2021
Eleven-year-old Harry Mancini is NOT Harry Houdini–the famous escape artist who died in 1926. But Harry DOES live in Houdini’s old New York City home, and he definitely knows everything there is to know about Houdini’s life. What is he supposed to do, then, when someone starts texting him claiming that they’re Houdini, communicating from beyond the grave? Respond, of course.
It’s hard for Harry to believe that Houdini is really contacting him, but this Houdini texts the secrets to all of the escape tricks the dead Houdini used to do. What’s more, Houdini’s offering Harry a chance to go back in time and experience it for himself. Should Harry ignore what must be a hoax? Or should he give it a try and take Houdini up on this death-defying offer?
Published: June 22, 2021
A mysterious jukebox, old vinyl records, and cryptic notes on music history, are Shaheen’s only clues to her father’s abrupt disappearance. She looks to her cousin, Tannaz, who seems just as perplexed, before they both turn to the jukebox which starts…glowing?
Suddenly, the girls are pulled from their era and transported to another time! Keyed to the music on the record, the jukebox sends them through decade after decade of music history, from political marches, to landmark concerts. But can they find Shaheen’s dad before the music stops? This time-bending magical mystery tour invites readers to take the ride of their lives for a coming-of-age adventure.
Time Traveling with a Hamster
Published: May 8, 2018
My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty-nine and again four years later, when he was twelve. On his twelfth birthday, Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his dead father. It directs him to the bunker of their old house, where Al finds a time machine (an ancient computer and a tin bucket). The letter also outlines a mission: travel back to 1984 and prevent the go-kart accident that will eventually take his father’s life. But as Al soon discovers, whizzing back thirty years requires not only imagination and courage, but also lying to your mom, stealing a moped, and setting your school on fire—oh, and keeping your pet hamster safe. With a literary edge and tons of commerical appeal, this incredible debut has it all: heart, humor, vividly imagined characters, and a pitch-perfect voice.
The Magic in Changing Your Stars
Published: August 4, 2020
Eleven-year-old Ailey Benjamin Lane can dance—so he’s certain that he’ll land the role of the Scarecrow in his school’s production of The Wiz. Unfortunately, a talented classmate and a serious attack of nerves derail his audition: he just stands there, frozen. Deflated and defeated, Ailey confides in his Grampa that he’s ready to quit. But Grampa believes in Ailey, and, to encourage him, shares a childhood story. As a boy, Grampa dreamed of becoming a tap dancer; he was so good that the Hollywood star and unofficial Mayor of Harlem, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, even gave him a special pair of tap shoes. Curious, Ailey tries on the shoes . . . and instantly finds himself transported to 1930s Harlem. There he meets a young street tapper and realizes that it’s his own grandfather! Can Ailey help the 12-year-old version of Grampa face his fears? And, if Ailey changes the past, will he still be able to get home again? Featuring an all-African-American cast of characters, and infused with references to black culture and history, this work of magical realism is sure to captivate and inspire readers.
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
Published: October 2, 2012
The world already knows Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, Calvin O’Keefe, and the three Mrs–Who, Whatsit, and Which–the memorable and wonderful characters who fight off a dark force and save our universe in the Newbery award-winning classic A Wrinkle in Time. But in 50 years of publication, the book has never been illustrated. Now, Hope Larson takes the classic story to a new level with her vividly imagined interpretations of tessering and favorite characters like the Happy Medium and Aunt Beast. Perfect for old fans and winning over new ones, this graphic novel adaptation is a must-read.
Max Einstein: Saves the Future (Max Einstein, 3)
Published: August 31, 2020
Max is back with a thrilling new adventure that involves time travel, creepy bad guys, killer drones, and a shocking mystery about her past that she will stop at nothing to solve!
Under constant danger of being kidnapped by the shadowy Corporation, Max is on the run from New York to London and beyond. But soon the call comes for the Change Maker kids’ next mission: make sure no kid ever goes hungry again! If anyone can tackle a problem this big, Max and her genius friends can.
But mysterious clues about her past keep distracting Max’s focus. She always wanted to know who her parents were and why they abandoned her as a baby. If she manages to build a time machine, she could find them and get all the answers! What’s more important – her past, or the future of the Change Makers?
Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris
Published: September 4, 2012
When Mira receives a cryptic postcard from her missing mother, she sets off with her father and brother to find her in Paris. Only Mira doesn’t know she’s looking in the wrong century.
With an innocent touch to a gargoyle sculpture on the roof of Notre Dame, Mira is whisked into the past. There she learns her mother isn’t just avoiding the family, she’s in serious trouble. Following her mother’s clues, Mira travels through time to help change history and bring her mother home.
Found: Volume 1 by Margaret Peterson H
Published: April 22, 2008
One night a plane appeared out of nowhere, the only passengers aboard: thirty-six babies. As soon as they were taken off the plane, it vanished. Now, thirteen years later, two of those children are receiving sinister messages, and they begin to investigate their past. Their quest to discover where they really came from leads them to a conspiracy that reaches from the far past to the distant future—and will take them hurtling through time. In this exciting new series, bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix brings an element of suspense that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
There they are: 20 of the best middle grade books about time travel. Which of these have you read and loved? I recently enjoyed Calonita’s 12 to 22!
Rosi Hollinbeck says
Great list. I love, love, love When You Reach Me. Thanks for the post.
Ben Gartner says
Excellent list! 🙂
Good list! I would add No Ordinary Thing by G. Z. Schmidt to this.