Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko is a story based on actual experiences of those who worked in support positions for Alcatraz in the 1930’s when Al Capone as a prisoner.


Moose Flanagan and his family have moved from Santa Monica and he tells us right how he feels saying: “Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. Alcatraz sits smack in the middle of the bay…” His Dad, Cam, has taken two jobs as a prison guard and an electrician.

Moose is big for a 12-year-old, his older sister Natalie has autism and he looks out for her and concern for her consumes his mother Helen.

Moose becomes friends with the warden's daughter, Piper, and they get into trouble when she talks him into being part of her money-making schemes, like having inmates on the island do laundry for the kids at school.  Piper and Moose hope Al Capone can help them when the trouble starts.

An interesting plot with some funny situations.


“Nobody knows how things will turn out, that's why they go ahead and play the game...You give it your all and sometimes amazing things happen, but it's hardly ever what you expect.”

“Now I understand. When you love someone, you have to try things even if they don't make sense to anyone else.

“Life is amazing, isn't it? You can't ever tell what will happen. Nobody knows until they go ahead and play the game.”

“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.”“What they say about females being the weaker sex is the biggest lie in the world.”

“I’m big as a linebacker, and a seven-year-old girl treats me like her errand boy. Does she smell weakness on me?”

“Oh, we have everyone who is bad. Except Bonnie and Clyde on account of their being dead,” she says.”