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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer…

Al Capone Does My Shirts (original 2004; edition 2006)

by Gennifer Choldenko

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1582451,775 (3.99)86
Title:Al Capone Does My Shirts
Authors:Gennifer Choldenko
Info:Perfection Learning (2006), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Alcatraz, history, historical fiction, family, middle school, humor

Work details

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (2004)

  1. 00
    Holes by Louis Sachar (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: With offbeat characters and distinctive settings, these well-paced, affecting and funny novels are about compassionate boys: Moose, caring for his autistic sister on Alcatraz Island (Al Capone); Stanley, who escapes from a juvenile detention camp to help another inmate (Holes).… (more)
  2. 00
    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  3. 00
    How to Talk to an Autistic Kid by Daniel Stefanski (cammykitty)
    cammykitty: Very short book that explains what it's like to have autism, and what you can do to help if you know someone with autism.
  4. 00
    Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (kaledrina)

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» See also 86 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
Once again, I read this to my daughters as a bedtime read over the course of two weeks. From the opening few pages, I was certain my girls would choose to put this down in favor of another read, but once we fell in sync with the voice of Moose, this book easily became a favorite of ours.

As an adult reader, despite the 1935 dates of each chapter, this didn't feel like a depression-era story. The past-times of the kids feels like a breath of fresh air -- no electronic gadgets, but real interaction. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
This is both a realistic and historical fiction book. Moose Flannigan moves to Alcatraz Island with his autistic sister and his parents. Him and some kids on the island set up a buisness to have kids clothes washed by Al Capone and other prisoners. He deals with what will happen to his autistic sister and how she can recieve the help she needs. He writes a letter to Al asking him to help Natalie get into a special school. in the end, Natalie is all of a sudden accepted into this school and in a shirt of Moose's that was recently washed by Al, there is a little piece of paper that says "done". ( )
  kfrost32 | Feb 24, 2015 |
This kids' novel tells the story of 12-year-old Moose, who goes to live on the island of Alcatraz in 1935 with his electrician/prison guard father, his mother, and his sister Natalie, who is autistic (not that that word or that diagnosis existed in 1935). It's a good, solid kids' story, one that captures the day-to-day experience of being a kid quite well, and also handles the day-to-day experience of dealing with a family member with special needs well. It's not, I think, the kind of kids' book that still holds a special appeal to adults, but even so, I did find the historical details interesting, and appreciated the author's note in the back explaining how accurate all of it was. (The answer is "very," which is nice.)

Rating: This is a little hard to rate, because from my adult perspective, the reading experience was OK, but my life would have been no poorer if I'd skipped it. But I would unhesitatingly recommend it for kids. So I'm going to try to be objective, consider the target audience, and call it a 4/5 kids' novel. ( )
1 vote bragan | Feb 17, 2015 |
I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this, other than it would be good, because it's a Newbery. Choldenko keeps her story as close to historically accurate as possible, and yet, still creates a story that pulls you in, head and heart. It was fascinating to read about the life on Alcatraz for the families of the guards. It was heartbreaking to read about Natalie, and life for someone with her challenges. Things in those days were so different for people with autism (a word they didn't even have back then). I highly recommend, both for personal reading and for use in a classroom or as a discussion with kids. ( )
  empress8411 | Jan 16, 2015 |
This book is based on Al Capone, the prisoner at Alcatraz. The main character helps in the laundry room at the prison where he family works and lives.
  mollybeaver | Dec 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 244 (next | show all)
Author Choldenko has written a funny and clever middle grade novel about a boy named Matthew (Moose) Flanagan who is living on Alcatraz Island with his family. The family has moved to the Island because Moose's father has found work as an electrician, and because his sister Natalie, who is autistic, can go to a good school nearby. Moose is not happy about living on the island, especially after meeting the Warden's daughter Piper who is bossy and a bit of a troublemaker. Moose's father has warned him to stay out of trouble because he needs this job and Natalie needs to go to the special school. Moose's life becomes miserable when Piper involves him and a few other island kids in a moneymaking scheme to have their schoolmates' clothes laundered by the convicts on Alcatraz Island. Piper tempts her school chums by claiming that Al Capone, the famous gangster, may even wash their shirts. The scheme falls apart when the Warden finds out what his daughter and friends are up to. Then, to make matters worse, the school that Natalie attends doesn't want her and she has to come home. Moose winds up watching her and has to forego his Monday after-school baseball game. This is an amusing book about interesting characters placed in a different and unlikely setting and trying to make the best of their situation. 2004, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Ages 10 up.

added by sriches | editChildren's Literature, Della Yannuzzi (Jul 24, 2009)
In 1935, notorious gangster Al Capone is one of three hundred convicts housed in the maximum-security penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan also lives on the island. His father has taken a position as an electrician and guard at the prison in hopes that Moose's sister, Natalie, will be accepted at a special school in nearby San Francisco. Not only has Moose been forced to leave friends behind and move with his family to a fortress island, but he also cannot play baseball or make new friends now because he is stuck taking care of his sister whenever he is not in school. Natalie is afflicted with the condition now known as autism, and even at age sixteen, she cannot be left unsupervised. Everyone in the family has been under a strain because of Natalie's special needs. Meanwhile Piper, the warden's pretty, spoiled daughter, makes life complicated for Moose. The island's residents have their laundry done by the convicts, and thrill-seeking Piper drags Moose into her wild stunt of marketing Al Capone's laundry services to their middle school classmates in San Francisco. But when his family desperately needs a break in their efforts to get help for Natalie, Moose knows that only Piper has the connections and the audacity to help him pull off a reckless scheme involving the island's most famous inmate. Choldenko, author of Notes from a Liar and Her Dog (Putnam's, 2001/VOYA August 2001), weaves three As—Alcatraz, Al Capone, and autism—into an excellent historical novel for middle-grade readers. A large, annotated 1935 photograph of Alcatraz Island and an informative author's note give substance to the novel's factual sources. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J (Betterthan most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 240p., Ages 11 to 15.
added by sriches | editVOYA, Walter Hogan (Jul 24, 2009)
Gr 6-8-In this appealing novel set in 1935, 12-year-old Moose Flanagan and his family move from Santa Monica to Alcatraz Island where his father gets a job as an electrician at the prison and his mother hopes to send his autistic older sister to a special school in San Francisco. When Natalie is rejected by the school, Moose is unable to play baseball because he must take care of her, and her unorthodox behavior sometimes lands him in hot water. He also comes to grief when he reluctantly goes along with a moneymaking scheme dreamed up by the warden's pretty but troublesome daughter. Family dilemmas are at the center of the story, but history and setting-including plenty of references to the prison's most infamous inmate, mob boss Al Capone-play an important part, too. The Flanagan family is believable in the way each member deals with Natalie and her difficulties, and Moose makes a sympathetic main character. The story, told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers with an interest in what it was like for the children of prison guards and other workers to actually grow up on Alcatraz Island.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
added by sriches | editLibrary Journal, Miranda Doyle (Jul 24, 2009)
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To my sister, Gina Johnson,
and to all of us who loved her--
however imperfectly.
First words
Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Matthew Flanagan detto Moose e la sua famiglia si trasferiscono a vivere sull’isola di Alcatraz, famosa per il penitenziario dove fu rinchiuso anche Al Capone, oltre ai più pericoli malviventi e delinquenti negli anni ‘40 e ’50. Lo scopo dei Flanagan, in particolare della madre è preciso: desiderano che Natalie, sorella maggiore di Moose, una ragazza autistica, possa essere accolta in una prestigiosa scuola del luogo, forse per lei l’unica speranza di qualche miglioramento e inserimento nella vita collettiva. Tra nuove amicizie, partite di baseball e avventure buffe o drammatiche trascorrono sei mesi fondamentali per la vita di tutti i Flanagan, e Al Capone (forse) ne è anche un poco responsabile, chissà…
(Charles Duff Description Below)
Quite an amazing setting indeed, young Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz Island with his mother, Guardsman father, and his younger sister Natalie.  Right from the get go, we learn as a reader that Natalie is special.  She is able to compute numbers in seconds and have fascinations with certain objects.  As Moose tries to navigate and interact with his schoolmates, namely the uppity daughter of the Warden, Piper, Moose must protect and care for his sister.  As a class read for a 3rd or 4th grade class, the teacher could ease students into learning about Autism.  As entertaining as the book can be, it can also be used for constructive conversations on disabilities, namely Autism.  For more teaching resources on Autism, check out:http://www.autism-pdd.net/testdump/te...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142403709, Paperback)

Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook's or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:44 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

(summary from another edition)

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