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Al Capone Does My Shirts (2 vol.)

by Gennifer Choldenko
This engaging coming-of-age story begins with 12-year-old Moose and his family moving to Alcatraz so his father can work there as a guard, and his autistic sister can go to a special school in San Francisco. A Newbery Honor Book. 309 pages, Ages 9-14

Item Number: 1107
Category:Contracted Braille in UEB

Price: $20.00
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Reviews for Al Capone Does My Shirts (2 vol.)
RatingComments
5Gennifer Choldenko manages to portray an era, adolescence, and the pain of a disabled sibling with alarming accuracy.

Moose Flanagan is a 7th grader who is tall for his age. It is 1935, right in the midst of the Great Depression. Moose's father takes a job as a prison guard on Alcatraz Island. This means the whole family, including his mom and older sister, Natalie, have to live on the island, within the shadow of the prison, in an apartment building with the families of the other guards. Moose is not happy about leaving his home and friends in Santa Monica to take up residence next to a prison. The main reason for the move is so that his older sister, Natalie, can go to a special school in San Francisco. Natalie is considered different. In modern times, she would be diagnosed as autistic, but in 1935, autism had not been classified. Moose adjusts to life in a strange new place, stuck with the responsibility of looking after his sister, hardly seeing his parents, and getting to know the other children on the island, including the pretty and problematic Piper, the daughter of the Warden.

I read this book in one sitting. It is very well-written, and the author clearly hasn't forgotten what it is to be a child. She portrays being the responsible sibling to a handicapped sister very well.

2011-08-08

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