convicts and laundry

I know it's been around for years, but I finally got around to reading Gennifer Choldenko's, Al Capone Does My Shirts. The year is 1934, and Moose Flannagan's Dad has taken a job as a prison guard on Alcatraz, which Moose is none to happy about! 

Though the story is a coming of age tale in some senses, it is more importantly an examination of a family struggling w/ having an autistic child--at a time when the condition wasn't understood--with the backdrop of life on Alcatraz. The universal themes of love and acceptance feel pertinent in today's bullying-concerned society, and also pertinent is the attention paid to Moose's relationship with his sister Natalie, who's autistic symptoms (though not referred to as autism in the book, but rather in the author's notes) would have today's kids baffled as well. Moose's frustrations with his mother, his responsibility for caring for Natalie, and at being taken away from his old home and friends are the cocoon that he can use to transform into something bigger and more beautiful--can he do it? I won't spoil the ending...

I also have to say I loved Mooses's voice in the story!
This book would be a great tool for use in classroooms!

Can't wait read the two sequels!

Hope everyone is safe and warm this holiday season, and ready for Christmas! Happy Christmas Eve all!


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