I recently read three books written by San Francisco area authors and thought I'd share them with you.
Your Guide to Visit San Francisco for Free: Includes 10 Paid Activities You do Not Want to Miss and 10 Free Activities Outside San Francisco - by Lydie Thomas
You might know Lydie from her site, Travel is More Fun with Kids. She's French, and wrote a guide to visiting Paris for free as well (check it out).
Now I'm sure you're wondering why a local San Francisco Bay Area resident would buy a book on visiting San Francisco. Well, duh! Because there are plenty of activities for you to do AS A RESIDENT and lots for your friends/family who visit to do as well.
For your visitors: information on how to travel in/around San Francisco (including airport transport so you don't have to pick them up); how the bridge tolls work; movies to watch before coming (also good for residents); tourist resources (medical, helpful apps, local blogs (like Frisco Kids!), and how to get free lodging (home exchange programs, couch surfing programs)
For you (and your visitors): lots of ideas of things to do (some free, some not), including many things I haven't done (the Wells Fargo History Museum, walking tours, the maze at Grace Cathedral, GLBT History Museum, the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Yoda statue, Tcho factory, Federal Reserve tours...). Plus it has lists of what museums are closed on what day - listed by day, which is quite convenient if you're looking for something to do on say, a Monday. And there's lots about the public art in the City - good history, and things to look out for. There's a listing of the steepest streets by grade, and a list of the best views. I learned a lot from this book and it will be a handy resource for me.
San Francisco, The Alphabet Book by Matt Weber
This hardcover book is again, good for locals or visitors. It's written by a Bay Area teacher. It goes through the alphabet, covering 26 cultural, historical and geographical aspects of the City. Each letter gets one full page photograph and the other side has a 4 stanza rhyme, with some additional "did you know" facts. For example,
"A is for Alcatraz
A lighthouse, fort, and jail
An escape-proof island rock
It maybe once did fail."
It has some facts about Alcatraz having the first lighthouse and American fort on the West Coast (the oldest working U.S. lighthouse is in New Jersey, though that's not part of the book). And that Alcatraz is from "Alcatraces" meaning pelicans in Spanish!
The book is probably best for preschoolers to 2nd grade or so, though the facts in there are quite interesting even for older kids. Younger kids would be better for this format, though.
California's Missions from A to Z by Matt Weber
Like the previous book, this A to Z format features a different topic on every page. It is for kids slightly older though, as it doesn't have the 4 stanza rhymes (actually it's 8 stanza here), and gives a bit more information rather than just a few facts per page. You'll learn about everything from vaqueros (cowboys) to olives, from animal hides to quadrangles. This is a good book for those 4th graders studying missions as part of their school curriculum.