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The Best West Coast United States Kids Books

Looking for the best West Coast United States books?
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Mountain Chef
Written by Annette Bay Pimentel & illustrated by Rich Lo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The true story of a Chinese American mountain man who fed thirty people for ten days in the wilderness–and helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service. Tie Sing was born in the mountains. The mountains were in his blood. But because he was of Chinese descent at a time in America when to be Chinese meant working in restaurants or laundries, Tie Sing’s prospects were limited. But he had bigger plans. He began cooking for mapmakers and soon built a reputation as the best trail cook in California. When millionaire Stephen Mather began his quest to create a national park service in 1915, he invited a group of influential men–writers, tycoons, members of Congress, and even a movie star–to go camping in the Sierras. Tie Sing was hired to cook. Tie Sing planned diligently. He understood the importance of this trip. But when disaster struck–twice!–and Tie Sing’s supplies were lost, it was his creative spirit and quick mind that saved the day. His sumptuous menus had to be struck and Tie Sing had to start over in order to feed the thirty people in the group for ten whole days. His skills were tested and Tie Sing rose to the challenge. On the last night, he fed not just the campers’ bodies, but also their minds, reminding them to remember and protect the mountains. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, created by Congress on August 25, 1916. Today, you can hike to Sing Peak, named for Tie Sing, in Yosemite National Park.

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Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things
Written by Wendelin Van Draanen & illustrated by Brian Biggs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

While on her first hiking and camping trip, thirteen-year-old Sammy tries to solve a mystery involving endangered condors while avoiding scorpions, ticks, and embarrassment.

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Trapped! A Whale's Rescue
Written by Robert Burleigh & illustrated by Wendell Minor
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

In the icy waters of the Pacific, a massive humpback whale unexpectedly finds herself tangled in a net abandoned by fishermen. When a rescue boat and a convoy of divers arrive to help the struggling humpback, a realistic and moving encounter bridges the human and aquatic worlds.

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Escape from Alcatraz
Written & illustrated by Eric Mark Braun
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

What’s more exciting than a prison break? Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz in 1962 and have never been caught. Many authorities are certain they died crossing San Francisco Bay. Relatives claim they made it to Brazil. The theories of what happened to them are endless. Find out the facts from people who dealt with the men and the case first-hand. This is one mystery you’ll definitely want to solve.

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A Hitch at the Fairmont
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

An intrepid boy teams up with Alfred Hitchcock himself in this rollicking mystery rife with action, adventure, intrigue, and all the flavor of film noir. After the mysterious death of his mother, eleven-year-old Jack Fair is whisked away to San Francisco’s swanky Fairmont Hotel by his wicked Aunt Edith. There, he seems doomed to a life of fetching chocolates for his aunt and her pet chinchilla. Until one night, when Aunt Edith disappears, and the only clue is a ransom note written…in chocolate? Suddenly, Jack finds himself all alone on a quest to discover who kidnapped Aunt Edith and what happened to his mother. Alone, that is, until he meets an unlikely accomplice—Alfred Hitchcock himself! The two embark on a madcap journey full of hidden doorways, secret societies, cryptic clues, sinister villains, and cinematic flair. Including an author’s note about the real Hitchcock and an appendix of film references, this “fine read” is a “love letter to all that Hitchcock stood for” (Kirkus Reviews).

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  • The Higher Power of Lucky - Lucky, age 10, can’t wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. It’s all Brigitte’s fault for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead, Lucky is sure that she’ll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won’t be allowed. She’ll have to lose her friends: Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tiers. Just as bad, she’ll have to give up eavesdropping on 12-step anonymous programs, where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own “higher power” - and quick. But she hadn’t planned on a dust storm, or needing to lug the world’s heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

  • Good Night San Francisco - Good Night San Francisco highlights the San Francisco Bay, sea lions, Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Lombard Street, Stow Lake, Conservatory of Flowers, Cliff House, sandy beaches, Aquarium, Exploratorium, historic ships, fishing boats, Palace of Fine Arts, <i>The Thinker</i> statue, and more. What could be more exciting for young readers than touring the fascinating city of San Francisco? Children will be lulled into a peaceful night’s sleep while visiting the city’s famous landmarks and attractions. <p/>This book is part of the bestselling Good Night Our World series, which includes hundreds of titles exploring iconic locations and exciting, child-friendly themes. <p/>Many of North America’s most beloved regions are artfully celebrated in these board books designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for North America’s natural and cultural wonders. Each book stars a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions as rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place.

  • One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street - When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story–and the story of a very old orange tree–connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ story lines come together around that orange tree.
    Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s masterful novel deftly builds a story about family, community, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and of the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.

  • Me, Frida - Like a tiny bird in a big city, Frida Kahlo feels lost and lonely when she arrives in San Francisco with her husband, the famous artist Diego Rivera. It is the first time she has left her home in Mexico. And Frida wants to be a painter too.<p></p><br> <p></p><br> But as Frida begins to explore San Francisco on her own, she discovers more than the beauty, diversity, and exuberance of America. She finds the inspiration she needs to become one of the most celebrated artists of all time.<p></p><br> <p></p><br> <i>Me</i><i>, </i><i>Frida</i> is an exhilarating true story that encourages children to believe in themselves so they can make their own dreams soar. <p/></p>Praise for <i>Me, Frida</i><br>”The writing is lucid, the emotions are universal, and the illustrations soar. Glowing with warm, vibrant colors, the charcoal and acrylic paintings create distinctive, statuesque people within imaginatively conceived landscapes, cityscapes, and interiors.” -<i>Booklist </i>

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Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
Written by Laurence Yep
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Over the years the earth has moved many times under San Francisco. But it has been thirty-eight years since the last strong earthquake. People have forgotten how bad it can be. But soon they will remember.

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A to Z Mysteries Super Edition 1: Detective Camp
Written by Ron Roy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Z was just the beginning! With A to Z Mysteries(R) Super Editions, chapter book readers keep on collecting clues and solving mysteries with Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose. Now with over 8 million copies in print, this classic kid-favorite series is back with a bright new look!

Welcome to summer camp for detectives! The kids can't wait to spend a week following clues and learning about the science of crime solving. Soon all the campers are working on a mystery. But while Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are figuring out their part of the puzzle, they stumble onto something suspicious. Could a real crime be happening at detective camp?

Look for hidden messages inside A to Z Mysteries(R) Super Editions!

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