Al Capone Does My Shirts by Nelson Corona

April 28, 2008
Imagine being 14 and living on Alcatraz. We'll this is what happens to not only Moose and the Flanagan family, but the inmates in the book Al Capone Does My Shirts. The Flangen Family has just moved to Alcatraz, a California prison on Alcatraz Island, so the father can work as a guard. Gennifer Choldenko does a fantastic job of depicting what life is like for a family living in Alcatraz.

This book show how hard life is for the families living on the island. The Flanagan family has to live a life that is different for them. The mother wants to start working again, so Moose has to take care of his little sister. They have to watch out for different inmates and stay clear of trouble, or they get kicked off the island.

The way Gennifer Choldenko makes the life of Moose and his family members not seem cartoonist; but real is what is good about Al Capone Does My Shirts. Gennifer Choldenko also makes the problems Moose has and the solutions to these problems same so real, that you might think that they really occurred. For example, when Piper, the Wardens daughter, introduced the idea of having a laundry service that offers the kids at school, having there laundry cleaned by convicts, such as Al Capone. Anther example is when Nathalie doesn't get accepted into a school for her autism. Moose tries to meet with the warden, to try and get him to talk to the principle at the school to reconsider accepting Nathalie.

You should do anything for your family, is the theme of the book. This theme is displayed when Moose is left with the responsibility of taking care of his little sister when his mom has to go to work. Moose doesn't want to take care of Nathalie but he does anyway because he understands that his mom has to go to work and she can't take care of her. Moose has to miss baseball games with his friends, and living his own life to take care of Nathalie. Later on, Moose learns to have fun even if he is taking care of Nathalie. Anther example is Nathalie's mom keeping Nathalie 10 for the last 6 years. She does this to Nathalie because she wants to find help for Nathalie, but she can't do that if Nathalie is aging. A connection to this was when I had to take care of my baby cousin while my aunt and parents went out to lunch. I didn't really want to do this because 10 minutes before my parents told me; I had made plans to go to the park with my friends. I had to stay home instead. Al Capone Does My Shirts has won 20 awards. Among these is the prestigious Newbury honor award.

I would recommend this to anybody who likes to read a great book, that show how hard life is on a prison island or anybody who likes book that relate to real-life. This book is a great read. But the target audience would most likely be middle school students.

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