The Golden Gate: For Older Readers

Children's Books about SF

The books listed are a sampling of the titles available. Ask your Children's Librarian for further suggestions and tell us which are your favorites.

Al Capone does my shirts
Choldenko, Gennifer

No one asks 12-year-old Moose how he feels about moving to Alcatraz so his father can work as a guard and his autistic sister can attend a special school. For an historical perspective and profiles of real kids, see Claire Rudolf Murphy’s Children of Alcatraz: Growing Up on the Rock (j979.461 MURP).

Angel Island
Flanagan, Alice K.

A history of the island in San Francisco Bay that served as a U.S. Immigration Station, housed military missiles, and is now a national landmark.

j979.462 FLAN
Around San Francisco with kids: 68 great things to do together
Norton, Clark

Informative and practical guide to activities to enjoy around the Bay Area, but especially in San Francisco. For a more inclusive, theme-based approach, see Elina Wong’s Kids’ Adventures Around San Francisco Bay. (j917.9404 WONG)

j917.9461 FODO 2008
Ballon boy of San Francisco
Leland, Dorothy Kupcha

Early San Francisco comes alive in this story of a resourceful newspaper boy and his schemes to earn money.

Black and blue magic
Snyder, Zipha Keatley

Imagine flying over San Francisco late at night with your own wings. Harry Houdini Marco is given a chance to do just that!

j296.435 SNYD
By the great Horn Spoon!
Fleischman, Sid

A 12-year-old Boston stowaway and his butler strike San Francisco gold in 1849 in this great read-aloud. Also available in Spanish. Also: Jim Ugly.

The dragon's child: a story of Angel Island
Yep, Laurence

Fictionalized story of how Yep’s father came to San Francisco from China, based on transcripts of his U.S. immigration interview. Other historical fiction by Yep with an S. F. setting: The Earth Dragon Awakes; Dragonwings (also available in Chinese).

Earthquake in the early morning
Osborne, Mary Pope

The magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Evelyn Cisceros: prima ballerina
Krohn, Katherine

Introduction to the Mexican-American star of the San Francisco Ballet from her childhood through her retirement in 1999.

j792.8092 CISN
Murphy, Pat; illustrated by Gorski, Jason

Over 400 experiments to pique your curiosity and make you notice the world around you in new ways, from the staff of San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

j507.8 MURP
Golden Gate Bridge
Fandel, Jennifer

Beautiful color photographs, “Quick Facts,” and a glossary enhance this historical survey of San Francisco’s “modern wonder.”

j624.2309 FAND
The Harvey Milk story
Krakow, Kari; illustrated by Gardner, David

A picture book biography about the life and death of the gay rights leader and San Francisco city supervisor.

Hurry freedom: African Americans in Gold Rush California
Stanley, Jerry

A civil rights history that recounts how unparalleled opportunity and familiar prejudice affected African Americans in San Francisco’s early years.

j979.4004 STAN
Into the firestorm
Hopkinson, Deborah

Nick, an 11-year-old orphan runaway, has just settled in San Francisco when the 1906 earthquake strikes!

Julie and the Eagles, 1974
McDonald, Megan; illustrated by Hunt, Robert

Finding an injured owl in Golden Gate Park sparks Julie’s interest in bird conservation, in this series title. Also: Lisa Yee’s Good Luck, Ivy.

Just like me
edited by Rohmer, Harriet

Fourteen illustrators, published locally by Children’s Book Press, describe their artistic development in lively mini memoirs and vibrant self-portraits. Half hail from San Francisco.

j704.942 JUST
Levi Strauss
McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino

Life story of the prominent San Francisco businessman and creator of blue jeans.

Life in San Francisco's Chinatown
Issacs, Sally Senzell

Clear and concise history of San Francisco’s Chinatown with interesting vintage photos and illustrations.

j979.461 ISAA
The lost garden
Yep, Laurence

The acclaimed children’s author describes his years growing up in the Western Addition.

Mama's bank account
Forbes, Kathryn

A large Norwegian immigrant family in the early 20th century counts on Mama’s legendary savings.

Mission San Francisco de Asis
Edgar, Kathleen and Susan

Introduces the mission system and mission life, with information on the local Ohlone Indians.

j979.461 EDGA
Nancy Pelosi
Leavitt, Amie Jane

Introductory biography of the San Francisco congresswoman who became the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives on January 4, 2007.

PaperQuake: a puzzle
Reiss, Kathryn

A present-day 8th grader finds letters from 1906 that reveal an eerie similarity between her and a sickly young woman. What are they trying to tell her about an impending earthquake?

Peppermints in the parlor
Yep, Laurence

When her father is mugged, Casey goes unwillingly to live with her grandmother in Chinatown. Also:The Chinatown Mystery and Tiger’s Apprentice series; The Amah; Angelfish; Cockroach Cooties; The Cook’s Family; The Imp That Ate My Homework; Later, Gator; Ribbons.

San Francisco: a mini-history
Zauner, Phyllis

A potpourri of facts about San Francisco’s famous and infamous past and its landmarks.

j979.461 ZAUN
San Francisco earthquake, 1989
Sherrow, Victoria

The 7.1 Loma Prieta shaker and subsequent clean-up affected The City in many ways.

j363.3495 Sher
Someone is hiding on Alcatraz Island
Bunting, Eve

IEscaping malicious classmates, Danny finds himself a prisoner on Alcatraz for one terrifying night.

The story of the San Francisco Giants
Richardson, Adele

Brief history of the City’s professional baseball team, from its beginnings in New York City to present day. Highlights key players at each position. See also: Mark Stewart’s The San Francisco 49ers (j796.3326 STEW).

j796.357 RICH
Taking sides
Soto, Gary

After moving to the suburbs, Lincoln Mendoza misses the Mission, his basketball team, and his homeboys. Also available in Spanish.

West from home
Wilder, Laura Ingalls

The author of the Little House series writes letters about her visit to San Francisco during the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

j979.461 WILD
Working it out: San Francisco youth solve real problems
Yep, Laurence

A heartfelt anthology of creative writing by Middle School students, produced annually since 1994 by the San Francisco-based non-profit literacy arts program, Streetside Stories.

j808.8 STRE 2007
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