Al Capone Does My Shirts (Tales from Alcatraz, Bk 1)
Al Capone Does My Shirts - Tales from Alcatraz, Bk 1 Author:Gennifer Choldenko Moose Flannagan moves with his family to Alcatraz so his dad can work as a prison guard and his sister, Natalie, can attend a special school. But Natalie has autism, and when she’s denied admittance to the school, the stark setting of Alcatraz begins to unravel the tenuous coping mechanisms Moose’s family has used for dealing with he... more »r disorder.
When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the Warden, he knows right off she’s trouble. But she’s also strangely irresistible. All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parents’ expectations, and stay out of trouble. But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.
Set in 1935, when guards actually lived on Alcatraz Island with their families, Choldenko’s second novel brings humor to the complexities of family dynamics and illuminates the real struggle of a kid trying to free himself from the "good boy" stance he’s taken his whole life.« less
A wonderful book, filled with tidbits of historical accuracies. this story is about a time in one boy's life, during which he was living on Alcatraz and attending school in San Francisco. Most of the story revolves around his internal conflicts with wanting to live a normal life, in a normal neighborhood, with a normal family, while having to make due with the reality of living on Alcatraz Island with some of that period's most infamous criminals, having a father who is a prison guard and caring for an autistic sister in the 1930s, when autism was still treated like a personal choice. Wonderful writing - written for young readers, but enjoyable for adults as well.
This was a nominated book for the Georgia Book awards in 2006, and rightfully so. The characters are believable, and the setting is very important to the story's plot. I had been to San Francisco not long before I read this book, and it was fun imagining how it may have been for a young boy and his family to live on Alcatraz. This is a good book for 4th - 7th graders to read to experience the trials of another child their age.
Rebecca - reviewed Al Capone Does My Shirts (Tales from Alcatraz, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this historical fiction book. I think the level it is best suited for is middle school students and older as that writing is too advanced for younger students. I liked how the author fictionalized some aspects of the book to make it interesting. All the characters had very different personalities. But the author was still able to keep the book historically accurate about living at Alcatraz and having a sibling with autism. A nice touch is at the end of the book where the author tells where she got the information from the book and what parts are fact and fiction. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
My son was reading this book and I picked it up to see what it was about. Big mistake because for the remainder of the day I was caught up it!! The main character and his home life is so believeable. The way the family copes with the Natalie's situation is also very telling for that time in history. It was clear reading the book that Natalie was autistic but for the time period of the book any mental disability was labeled "retarded." Moose was torn with wanting to be a regular kid and having to step up and help with his not so regular sister. The characters are well developed and the story very well written. While the ending seemed a bit far fetched it was absolutely feel good! I would recommend this book for any middle school child.
Recommended by a friend with two children on the autism spectrum, after I told her about Mockingbird, this was much lighter fare. (The book summary does a much better job of explaining the plot than I could.) Well written, humorous yet realistic. This book didn't disappoint. I especially loved the ending.