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Choldenko, Gennifer.
New York : Putnam's, 2004.
IL 5-8, RL 6.5
ISBN 0399238611

(6 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

               Things just aren't going Moose Flanagan’s way. He has to leave his friends and winning baseball team behind. He never sees his Dad because he’s always working on his new job, and his Mom is acting just plain weird. Mom tries to make everyone believe Moose’s sister Natalie is ten, when she's really fifteen, going on sixteen. But Natalie is a little different. She has autism and sometimes her strange behavior gets Moose into trouble, especially now that he’s watching her. What’s a twelve-year-old guy to do? Having to move with your family isn't that unusual, unless you're moving to the “Rock”…Devil’s Island…ALCATRAZ.
                    “I want to be here like I want poison oak on my private parts. But apparently nobody cares, because now I’m Moose Flanagan, Alcatraz Island Boy — all so my sister can go to the Esther P. Marinoff School, where kids have macaroni salad in their hair and wear their clothes inside out and there isn't a chalkboard or a book in sight.”
                    It’s 1935, and Moose’s Dad has just started working as a prison guard on Alcatraz Island. Moose isn't too sure about this “twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water”. And on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away. Other kids live here with their families, and most of them seem all right…except for Piper. She’s the Warden’s daughter and sure, she's cute…but she's bad news. Piper has a scheme going all the time and nobody’s safe. She lies to her Dad, takes her classmates to the cleaners, and is determined to involve Moose in her plans. And let’s not even talk about the prisoners. Alcatraz gets the worst of the worst…the convicts other prisons don’t want. One of them is even famous. Alcatraz is home to the notorious gangster, Al Capone.
                    When the Flanagan family has a crisis and there’s nowhere to turn, will Moose break the most important rule on the Island and contact a convict? Would Moose dare to ask the most famous prisoner of all, Al Capone, for help? Find out in Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.  (Patricia R. Jansen, , Graduate Student at University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science)

Booktalk #2

When Moose Flannagan’s father takes a new job as an electrician and prison guard on AlcatrazIsland in the middle of San FranciscoBay, Moose has to deal with his classmates who find him more than a bit weird. He also clashes with his mother over the care of his sister, Natalie, who is autistic. In 1935, this condition has not even been identified and Moose’s family is encouraged to have Natalie placed in an institution rather that keeping her at home. Moose is the only one who can really reach Natalie and with a little help from Al Capone himself --- they find a place for Natalie.  Black-eyed Susan Award nominee 2005-2006

Booktalk #3

When Moose’s family moves to  Alcatraz so his father can work as a guard and his sister can attend a special school in  San Francisco , he has to leave his friends and his winning baseball team behind. However, it will be worth it if his autistic sister Natalie can get help. Maybe then his family will be normal. On  Alcatraz , though, his dad is so busy he’s never around. His mom is preoccupied with Natalie’s tantrums and constant needs. When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the warden, he knows right away that she’s trouble, but she is strangely irresistible. All Moose wants to do is take care of Natalie, make his parents happy, and stay out of trouble. On  Alcatraz , though, trouble is never very far away. (Prepared by: Teresa Blankenship, SCASL JuniorBook Awards)

Booktalk #4

Moose does not get a vote. His family moves to Alcatraz Island, where the worst kinds of prisoners live so his sister, Natalie, can go to a special school for autism. Moose becomes friends with the Warden’s daughter, Piper. Moose and Piper run a scam to collect money and laundry from kids. Then they get the laundry done by the convicts, like Al Capone. Moose eventually gets a very special letter back in his laundry after the Warden finds out about the scam and shuts it down.   (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2006-2007)

Booktalk #5

Moose Flanagan and his family leave their home to go to Alcatraz. His sister, Natalie has autism so she has to go to a special school, but one problem, they won't except her. Moose meets the warden's daughter,Piper and he knows she is trouble but they still are friends. Moose knows that it's hard for Natalie to get into a special school but Al Capone can help.  (Brad W.,, student)

Booktalk #6

Moose Flanagan just moved from Santa Monica to Devil's Island (a.k.a Alcatraz). Natalie his sister has some problems of her own. Moose has to take care of Natalie and go to school. Some of Moose's friends get him into trouble and have to go to the warden's office. Natalie has to get into school but does Moose have to ask a convict (Al Capone) for help? 

SUBJECTS:     United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island, California -- Fiction.
                        Alcatraz Island (Calif.) -- History -- Fiction.
                        Autism -- Fiction.
                        Family problems -- Fiction.
                        Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.


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