I really love time-travel books, and one of the things I’ve enjoyed about reading lots of them is that different authors tend to focus on distinct aspects of time travel. The Time Traveler’s Wife focuses on how it affected relationships; Stephen King’s 11/22/63 is about the greater what-ifs and how a time traveler can affect the whole world. Before I Fall was time travel-ish (in a Groundhog Day kind of way), and in it the protagonist experienced significant (and heartbreaking) personal growth through repeating time. There are lots of other examples (and if you have suggestions of other good time-travel books, let me know! I already have a copy of Time & Again waiting on my shelf, and Time Between Us is on my list of books to be bought), of course.
In the Mira’s Diary MG series, author Marissa Moss uses time travel for adventure and to educate readers: about history, art, tolerance, and some big ideas. It’s really a genius blend. Even as a non-MG reader, I feel like I know so much more about lesser-known historical figures, iconic places, and art after reading each book. The first was set in Paris, and the latest is set in Rome. From the jacket:
As if traveling to a new country in search of her missing mother weren’t difficult enough, Mira has to do it dressed as a boy. In a different century.
A new postcard from her time-traveling mother points Mira to 16th century Rome. But before she can rescue her mom, she must follow the clues left around the city to find Giordano Bruno, a famous thinker and mathematician, who discovered something so shocking that important Italian officials don’t want it revealed. All the while avoiding the Watchers–time-traveling police who want Mira back in her own time.
It’s another whirlwind adventure for Mira, and this time she is determined to bring her mother out of the past.
Back to how Mira’s Diary uses time travel to introduce some pretty cool ideas to its readers. This is one of my favorite passages in the book, coming after Mira encounters Giordano Bruno while trapped in a Roman prison:
“What I grasped was an impression of the world full of glinting lights, a million futures, a zillion possibilities, an infinite number of ways forward and back. It was all so perfectly beautiful, so incredibly ingenuous, like the way you can find math in nature–from the swirls of seashells to the spines of pinecones. When dawn streamed in the high window, I hadn’t moved at all, but I felt like I’d time-traveled in a totally different way.” (p.126)
Beautiful and really cool, right? I love how ideas are a form of time travel in the Mira books, along with the actual jumps in time Mira and her mom take while on their adventures.
The Mira books are smart, engrossing, and relatable for MG readers–and they have great spot illustrations, too. I can’t wait to see where time takes Mira next.
To see what other marvelous middle-grade books readers and writers are blogging about today, check out Shannon Whitney Messenger’s blog for the MMGM links!
Disclaimer: I am a Sourcebooks author, and Sourcebooks did provide me with a copy of Mira’s Diary: Home Sweet Rome to read. But as always, my opinions are my own!