Free with Museum Admission
Recommended for ages 9–12 and their adults
Come explore a little-known dark moment of San Francisco in the Gilded Age: The bubonic plague epidemic of 1900 ripped through the city’s Chinatown district while city officials stood by, denying its existence. Acclaimed author Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts) will join us to discuss the book and answer questions. Families will also get to see rarely exhibited documents, maps, and images from our Library collections related to San Francisco, Chinese-American history, and the Gilded Age.
About Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
The future appears pretty dull for thirteen-year-old finishing school pupil Lizzie, whose love of science can only be expressed while attending house calls with her father, the prominent Dr. Jules Kennedy. Suddenly these calls yield rumors, then evidence in Lizzie’s eyes, of a bubonic plague outbreak in the city’s Chinatown. But Lizzie’s dad and his powerful circle of friends and family deny it. Lizzie’s not sure what to think until her friend Noah, the son of her family’s Chinese-American cook, goes missing. Could he be under the quarantine that city officials say doesn’t exist? As Lizzie tries to find him, she finds herself caught in the midst of “secrets multiplying as fast as the story’s rats” (Booklist, starred review) in this “vivid picture of 20th-century San Francisco…” (Shelf Awareness, starred review).
About the Reading into History Family Book Club
Every month families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book together at home and then attend a book wrap event, where they share reactions to the book, see cool Museum artifacts and documents related to the story, and meet other history detectives and special guests! Past special guests have included authors Walter Dean Myers and Avi and Rita Williams-Garcia, plus Museum curators, historians, and other experts.
Jacket art: Hugh D’Andrade
Jacket design: Kate Gartner
Headshot: Patricia Leeds