The KIDS are ALRIGHT: JUVENILE MYSTERIES
Its never too early to start reading mysteries. Writers of books for children have often turned to the mystery format to tell stories to younger readers. Many of the themes popular in adult Bay Area mystery fiction also appear in juvenile mysteries set here.
HOWARD PEASE on the STATE of CHILDRENS LITERATURE
In 1939, popular author mystery and adventure stories for boys Howard Pease (1894-1974) gave a fiery speech in front of four hundred female librarians at an American Library Association meeting in Berkeley, deriding the feminization of childrens literature and advocating for more books written by male authors and more realism injected into the plots. Although many in the audience were offended by his misogynistic tone, his provocative ideas did eventually lead to changes in the criteria for the awarding of Newbery Medals. Pease was born in Stockton and educated at Stanford, and many of his twenty-two novels have Bay Area connections.
Howard Pease (1894-1974)
Mystery on Telegraph Hill
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1961.
Bancroft PS3531.E253.M9 1961
Tod Moran, the Second Mate of the Araby, is falsely accused of robbery after being attacked on the fog-shrouded streets of San Franciscos Telegraph Hill.
Laurence Yep (1948- )
The Case of the Lion Dance
New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.
San Francisco-born Chinese American Laurence Yep is the author of over sixty books, both fiction and non-fiction, for young adults. Many of his books explore the Chinese American experience, in both historical and contemporary settings. In the first entry in Yeps Chinatown series, The Case of the Goblin Pearls (1997), readers are introduced to pre-teenager Lily Lew and her Auntie Tiger Lil, who team up to solve mysteries and learn about racial and ethnic tolerance in San Franciscos Chinatown.
Eve Bunting (1928- )
Someone is Hiding on Alcatraz Island
New York: Clarion Books, 1988.
Bancroft PS3552.U4735.S66 1988
Ultra-prolific author Eve Bunting (over 250 books and counting) occasionally writes mysteries (she won the 1993 Edgar award for Best Juvenile Mystery) and occasionally sets them in the Bay Area. Someone is Hiding on Alcatraz Island tells the story of Danny, who tries to elude the toughest gang in his San Francisco school by escaping to Alcatraz.
Marilyn Sachs (1927- )
At the Sound of the Beep
New York: Dutton Childrens Books, 1990.
Education-Psychology PZ7.S1187.A77 1990
Twins Mathew and Mathilda Greens parents are splitting up and splitting them up too. Unwilling to be separated, the twins run away and hide in Golden Gate Park—a beautiful place during the day but filled with danger at night. Someone is murdering the homeless inhabitants of the park, and the twins may be next.
The Tangled Web: A Julie Mystery
Middleton, Wis.: American Girl Publishing, Inc., 2009.
Published as a tie-in with the popular American Girl dolls, this is the first in a series of mysteries featuring Julie Albright, a fifth-grade girl living in San Francisco in the 1970s.
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Nate the Great, San Francisco Detective
New York: Dell Yearling, 2000.
For over thirty years, child detective Nate the Great and his dog Sludge have been solving mysteries. In their first out-of-town case, Nate and Sludge cruise around San Francisco tracking down clues about a missing joke book.
Joey Bear and Yvette, Private Detectives
San Francisco: Steve Rubenstein, 1982.
Bancroft PS3569.U34.J6 1982
In this picture book, Joey, a Teddy bear, and his partner Yvette, a doll, are private detectives in San Francisco. One day Timmy comes into their office to ask them to help him find his friend Miranda, who has apparently flown away with a balloon.
Gertrude Chandler Warner (1890-1979)
The Mystery in San Francisco
Morton Grove, Ill.: Albert Whitman & Company, 1997 (Boxcar Children Mysteries #57).
While visiting their aunt and uncle in San Francisco, the Boxcar Children solve a mystery at Fishermans Wharf. Like many popular juvenile series, the Boxcar Children have outlived their original creator, with publisher Albert Whitman & Co. continuing to issue new stories under Warners name long after her death.
Joy de Weese Wehen
Stranger at Golden Hill
New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1961.
This 1960s teen novel follows Melinda Marshall, who is eagerly anticipating her debut at San Franciscos Debutante Cotillion, as she helps unravel a mystery with origins in the days of the California ranchos. The book is nicely laced with tidbits of Bay Area history.
Gilda Joyce, Psychic Detective
New York: Sleuth/Dutton, 2005.
During the summer before ninth grade, intrepid Gilda Joyce invites herself to the San Francisco mansion of distant cousin Lester Splinter and his thirteen-year-old daughter, where she uses her purported psychic abilities and detective skills to solve the mystery of the mansions boarded-up tower.
The Big Scratch: A Manx McCatty Adventure
New York: Ballantine Books, 1988.
In this only appearance of hard-boiled cat detective Manx McCatty, evil lurks along the mean streets of San Francisco—Fishermans Wharf, North Beach, the fog-enshrouded waterfronts [where] hero Manx McCatty is outnumbered by blackguards: low-life hoods, stoolies, extortionists, and Gato Nostro kingpin Tabby Tonelli.
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