Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Al Capone at Alcatraz Series by Gennifer Choldenko

I have read the first three books of this series by Gennifer Choldenko. I love historical fiction, and Choldenko has just the right balance of mystery, history, humor, and tension in this series. The fourth book is set to come out in the fall of 2017, so right away, and I will certainly add it to my collection.

I read the first book Al Capone Does my Shirts several years ago. Published in 2004, this Newbery Honor book tells the story of Moose Flanagan, a young boy whose father is an electrician on Alcatraz, and he and his family live on the island. Piper Williams, the warden's daughter, is quite the schemer, and may end up in a cell if she isn't careful. Moose also had a sister, Natalie, who I would guess has some form of autism and isn't accepted by society during the time period of 1935.

The story involves baseball, con men, inmates, and of course Al Capone.

The second book is called Al Capone Shines My Shoes, and continues Moose Flanagan's story. We see his relationship with his friends further develop, and his like/hate relationship with Piper also continues. Moose connects with Al Capone, and Al Capone needs a favor from Moose.

In the third book, Al Capone Does My Homework, Moose's dad has been promoted to associate warden, and all sorts of trouble breaks loose. His father now has a price on his head, and after a fire in their apartment, Natalie is blamed and shunned by some on the island. Moose and his friends try to solve the mystery before anyone gets hurt.

This series can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. If they enjoy history, especially prison system history, this book will get them doing further research. The characters are likable and grow over the course of the series. Choldenko presents Natalie in a realistic and positive manner. This is a fun historical fiction series.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

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