A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco

Now Available

At the core of A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco are seven poems, composed, author John Briscoe tells us, by generations of San Francisco schoolchildren. Over the week before Christmas these children paired iconic San Francisco food and drink with the days of the week. Each day got a poem featuring a particular food or beverage. In this way, Briscoe observes, the young poets showed “a precocious affection for the culinary tradition and abiding spirits of Christmas in their City of St. Francis.”

Briscoe was one of those children. “For the occasion of those seven days, we composed ditties of juvenilia, in verse from bad to worse, to celebrate the days of the week and their paired food or beverage soulmates. From Sutro Heights to South Beach, from Bernal Heights to the Bayview, we composed, and competed, and conceded to the best of us.”

These then are the best productions of San Francisco’s youthful versifiers. They are sly and surprisingly sophisticated comic verses that bring to life a forgotten San Francisco, one spiced with wicked innocence and fueled by the city’s unique culinary offerings.

Like the season it recalls, this book is celebration, a feast that is guaranteed to delight.


Praise for A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco

“An affectionately nostalgic, humorous remembrance of San Francisco gustatory pleasures in an appealing format.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Everyone, San Franciscan or not, should read this exquisitely written tribute to the city and to our youth.”
—Historian Charles Fracchia, Panorama
“In this collection, readers find not only clever, youthful poems that delight with their tongue-in-cheek sensibilities, but they also encounter brief historical lessons that celebrate San Francisco’s uniqueness. This charming book is sure to become a quick conversation piece at parties, book clubs, and historical societies alike.”
US Review of Books
A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco is a short and sweet regional poetry collection that includes light doses of history and entertainment.”
—Foreword Reviews
“Briscoe’s narrative is deft and sure, always evocative, sometimes humorous, sometimes luminous. A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco should appeal to anyone with a bent for nostalgia, history, or San Francisco.”
—Blue Ink Reviews (read the full review)

“Handsome, fiendishly ingenious. And unfailing.
I can almost hear the cable cars clanging at Market and Powell
because of the bargains they’re getting at Owl.”
—Robert Hass, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry,
and Poet Laureate of the United States, 1995–1997