Gennifer says



Visit Al Capone
on Alcatraz

Teaching guide
Global editions

Weird Alcatraz facts

by Gennifer Choldenko
ages 10 and up
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004, ISBN 978-0-399-23861-1
Puffin, 2006, ISBN 978-0-14-240370-9

"1935. I want to be on Alcatraz 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.

Good Moose. Obedient Moose. I always do what I'm supposed to do."


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, Moose has to leave his friends and his winning baseball team behind. But it's worth it, right? If his sister, Natalie, can finally get help, maybe his family will finally be normal.

But as it turns out, life on Alcatraz is much more complicated than even Moose would have predicted.

His dad is so busy, he's never around. His mom's preoccupation with Natalie's condition (today it would be called autism) is even worse now that there's no extended family to help with her tantrums and constant needs. And of course, there's never enough money.

When Moose meets Piper, the cute daughter of the Warden, he knows right off she's trouble. But she's also strangely irresistible. All Moose wants to do is protect Natalie, live up to his parent's expectations, and stay out of trouble. But on Alcatraz, trouble is never very far away.

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