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I was asked what I consider the best time travel books for kids to read.

I answered.

When I was twelve or thirteen, I discovered Science and Fantastical fiction. Before that I read mainly kids' books. Watership down, Call of the wild, White Fang (though I would argue about them being kids' books) Treasure Island, Ivanhoe etc. So, I would like to give you some ideas for the (12 to18) end of this scale.

Behold the man by Michael Moorcock.

Meet Karl Glogauer, time traveller and unlikely Messiah. When he finds himself in Palestine in the year 29AD he is shocked to meet the man known as Jesus Christ - a drooling idiot, hiding in the shadows of the carpenter's shop in Nazareth. But if he is not capable of fulfilling his historical role, then who will take his place?
Expanded from the Nebula-winning 1966 novella, BEHOLD THE MAN is one of the greatest books of Moorcock's long and varied career. Intense, delicate and brutal, it explores the psyche of one man as he faces his ultimate fate. One he knows he cannot avoid.

Cryptozoic by Brian Aldiss

In the year 2093, human consciousness has expanded to the point that man can visit the past using a technique called 'mind-travelling'. Artist Edward Bush returns from a lengthy 'trip' to the Jurassic period to find the government overthrown by an authoritarian regime. Given his mind-travel experience, he is recruited by the new regime to track down and assassinate a scientist whose ideas threaten to topple the status quo. However, the job of an artist is not to take orders but to ask questions . . .

The Many Coloured Land by Julian May

In the 22nd Century, a group of misfits and mavericks are preparing to leave behind everything they have known. Advanced technology has created a one-way time portal to Earth’s Pliocene Era – six million years ago. Those seeking a better life are drawn to the promise of a simple utopia, far from the civilised Galactic Mileu. But no one could have predicted the dangers on the other side.
For the group will enter the battleground of two warring alien races, exiled from a distant planet. And these races not only have potent mind powers, but seek to exploit and enslave humans for their own needs. The travellers are about to discover that their unspoilt paradise is far from Eden.

Red Shift by Alan Garner

A disturbing exploration of the inevitability of life.
Under Orion’s stars, blue silver visions torment Tom, Macey and Thomas as they struggle with age-old forces. Distanced from each other in time, and isolated from those they live among, they are yet inextricably bound together by the sacred power of the moon’s axe and each seek their own refuge at Mow Cop.
Can those they love so intensely keep them clinging to reality? Or is the future evermore destined to reflect the past?

I chose these four novels because they met the criteria of the question, but they do more than just that. Each of those mentioned is an award-winning novel. Each hugely different from the one before in fact the only thing they have in common is “Time Travel”. The first was banned extensively before becoming a classic due to its subject matter, the second posits disturbing thoughts on the true nature of life as it applies to young people, the third is just a wonderful “character” novel with a clever story and methodology hinting about the nature of diversity in the human species genome and the fourth vital, significant, showing children that others think in the same way. I would also recommend all of Alan Garner’s other novels for children.

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