The Definitive Guide to

Big Papa and the Time Machine

Written by Daniel Bernstrom and illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Published by HarperCollins
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What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford.

A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him.

Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America.

*“Wasn’t you scared?”

“Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

What Kind of Book is Big Papa and the Time Machine

Book Lists That Include Big Papa and the Time Machine

Book Lists › African Americans
Children's Books About African Americans
Book Lists › feeling scared
Children's Books About Feeling Scared

Who Wrote Big Papa and the Time Machine

Daniel Bernstrom

Daniel Bernstrom is the author of two previous picture books for children, One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, and Gator, Gator, Gator!, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. Daniel and his wife and their children live in Minnesota. Learn more about him at

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Who Illustrated Big Papa and the Time Machine

Shane W. Evans

Shane W. Evans loves to dream. First he dreamed of opening his own art studio. He did that in 2007. Shane’s books include We March; Olu’s Dream; and Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom, a 2012 Coretta Scott King Medalist. When he isn’t on the road, Shane dreams at home in Kansas City, MO. Visit him online at

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What Has Daniel Bernstrom Said About This Book

  • The stories in this book are my papa’s, and though some details have been changed, I have tried to preserve the way he told them as best I could. With Big Papa and the Time Machine, I wanted to tell my African American story: the story of my journey with Papa driving in and out of time itself as Papa would spin tales of love, loss, courage, and doing brave things even when one is most afraid.

  • The character of Big Papa was inspired by Daniel’s late grandfather. “More than anything,” explains Daniel, “I wanted to snatch Big Papa’s beautiful way of speaking, the way his language and cadence seasoned his stories, and lock it in a magic bottle, so that when I need my Big Papa, he’s there waiting for me between the pages of this book.”

What Has Shane W. Evans Said About This Book

  • “The idea of a time machine shows us all the capacity to dream and be inspired even in the most challenging times,” says Shane. His art for this book reminded him of his relationship with his own grandfather.

  • When I first received this story, I immediately saw the challenge at hand. How does one see the past, the present, and the future all in one story? And what is courage? With every line of art, there is a story—just as there is a story in every word.

Daniel Bernstrom's Book Dedication

To those who taught me how to be brave: Vodes (or Papa), Edsel, Mitch, and Keith

Shane W. Evans's Book Dedication

Thank you, God, for the strength to see this vision through. I dedicate this book to ALL the Evans, Ciminesi, Allen, Clark, and Eastwood boys and men, to Warren, Jackie, Paul, Garie Senior, Joseph, and Old, to the fathers, uncles, grands, and great—we love you, I love you, be brave.

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Book Details

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Publication Date:
January 14, 2020
Illustration Details:
The artist used patience, skill, mixed media, pen, alkyd paint, and digital media tools to create this book.