Urban Playground: What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco


Urban Playground

What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco

Children want to be seen and heard. When we listen, kids in urban centers tell us a lot, like what is fun, boring, meaningful, and scary about the cities they live in. Jump into the Urban Playground to find out what kids think about their cities.

In Urban Playground: What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco, fifty San Francisco kids, ages five to nine at the time of their interviews, tell readers about their lives in San Francisco, through the lens of ten themes: family, food, heroes, holidays, pets, school, sports, talents, vacations, and work.

In these pages, San Francisco kids reveal everything from who lives at home with them to their career aspirations. They also share what thrills them about living in the city and what they think the bummers are.

Urban Playground: What Kids Say About Living in San Francisco

Kirkus and Foreword both favorably reviewed Urban Playground, and Foreword named the book a finalist in the Juvenile Nonfiction category of its 2020 Indie Awards.

Urban Playground was also a finalist in the Children’s Nonfiction category of American Book Fest’s 2020 Annual Best Book Awards. In 2020, the book also won the Juvenile Nonfiction category of the National Indie Excellence Awards. Urban Playground was also a finalist in the Children-Social Issues category of the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

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“In this charming, warm-hearted, often very funny book, Katie Burke takes us into the minds of children—a place we should all spend more time! Not only a wonderfully insightful kid’s eye guide to San Francisco, Urban Playground is also an interactive manual for getting into the minds of your own— and your friends’—children. Reading its sweet—and sometimes quirky—interviews, is to see San Francisco with the freshest eyes possible.”
—JANIS COOKE NEWMAN, author of A Master Plan for Rescue

“If you’re seeking the honest truth from kids, you will find few better resources than Urban Playground, by San Francisco writer Katie Burke. Burke’s StoryCorps-like interviews, quoting kids on everything from pupusas to Pride Week, reveal that the Bay Area remains a fertile ground for smart, confident, and fun-loving kids. Says a seven-year-old girl who’s on the road to becoming an archaeologist, ‘It usually takes about maybe a month or a year to dig up one dinosaur.’ After reading this book, I wouldn’t be sur- prised if she or another San Francisco kid figured out how to dig one up sooner!.”
—SALLY SMITH, Editor and Co-Publisher, The Noe Valley Voice

“Children make the best tour guides. In Katie Burke’s lively Urban Playground series, young city-dwellers share how they experience all aspects of city life, from restaurants, holidays, people, and parks to pets, schools, sports, shops, and activities. Their observatiaons are moving and thought-provoking, and reveal what makes a city interesting and unique. This book will appeal to adults and kids who wish to see (and re-see) San Francisco.”
—CHRISTINA CLANCY, author of The Second Home

“A fascinating peek into the minds of San Francisco’s children. They are more insightful, creative and weird—in the best of ways!—than I’d ever imagined.”
—JULIA SCHEERES, author of A Thousand Lives

“This delightful book of interviews of important San Franciscans— grade-school kids—works on so many levels. The wisdom of these children reveals what a great place San Francisco is to grow up in. As Willa notes, ‘If it was medieval times, and San Francisco was a city with walls, we could still survive because we have everything we need.’”
—JOANNA BIGGAR, author of Melanie’s Song

“San Francisco as seen through the eyes of its youngest denizens. More than just an insider’s guide to places parents should take their kids in the city, Katie Burke’s stories are a revelation about the lives, imaginations, and dreams of our future generation. Kids really do say the darndest things.”
—SCOTT JAMES, journalist and author of San Francisco Chronicle bestsellers SoMa and The Sower

“Urban Playground invites a multi-generational exchange on the joys and hardships of living in one of America’s greatest cities. What makes this an important work is its honest recording of children’s voices, their fears and dreams. It is a poignant reminder that family is defined in many ways.”
—JOHNNIE BERNHARD, author of A Good Girl, How We Came to Be, and Sisters of the Undertow

“With so much to see and do, it’s easy for anyone to fall in love with San Francisco. Katie Burke’s new book beautifully captures the wonder of this great city through the lens of San Francisco’s most inquisitive residents—our children.”
—RAFAEL MANDELMAN, San Francisco Supervisor, District 8

“Burke’s writing captures the unique voice of each child she interviews, truly bringing to life the diversity of the city and giving the reader tons of ideas for things to do. Even if a trip to San Francisco isn’t in the future, this book is still a fantastic resource for parents due to the discussion questions. I’ve used a couple of them with my own kids, and it’s been eye-opening to hear their answers to questions I would have never thought to ask. Every city needs a book like this one, which allows reader of all ages to experience it through the eyes of a child.”
—MEGAN HOLT, Ph.D., Executive Director of One Book One New Orleans

The Kids

Meet some of the kids featured in the book.

Liam Taliaferro,
five years old

Another reason Liam’s dad is his hero? He is funny, Liam says. Asked whether his dad tells jokes, Liam replies, “Well, dad jokes.”

Khylee Herrera,
seven years old

“I usually eat my family’s two food countries,” Khylee adds. Her family is Spanish and Chinese. She says that for the Spanish side, she eats mashed potatoes, and for the Chinese side, she eats rice with soy sauce and soup.

Sammy Wulkan,
nine years old

Sushi and tacos are tied for first place as Sammy’s favorite food. “The tacos I like my dad makes,” she says. “In our house, we call them My Dad’s Famous Tacos.” Sammy likes hers with turkey, black beans, corn, cheese, avocado, and salsa.”

Travis Schrader
nine years old

Travis, who is hearing impaired and lives with his mom, dad, and deaf older brother, likes adventure. “I think you get a good sum of money from being a cop,” he says, “and you still get a lot of action while you’re getting money, too.”

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