Al Capone Shines My Shoes
is the sequel to Choldenko's celebrated Al Capone Does My Shirts
. Twelve-year old Moose Flanagan continues his account of life on the Rock and the conflicts and crises that beset the isolated community of cons, guards, mothers and kids who call it home. Moose's voice - so true, so funny, so boyish, so irreverant - will make you want to stand up and applaud Choldenko's bravura encore:
Alcatraz Island is shaped like a wedding cake with three tiers and lots of paths and stairs and switchbacks that lead from one level to the next. The parade ground where we play baseball
makes a pretty good field except for the wind. I can't tell you how irritating it is to hit a good ball and have the wind make it a foul.
Piper flies down the steep switchback on her roller skates, her long hair streaming behind...
Beyond the Book
Alcatraz and Al Capone
Alcatraz, the setting of Choldenko's novel, is as vivid and interesting as her characters. She got to know its layout, the way the sun looks on the sea around it, its birds and its weather while working there for a year as a docent.
Most famous as the site of a federal prison, Alcatraz Island was first a military fortress, home to the first lighthouse on the Pacific Coast in the mid 1850's, and a military prison for prisoners of the Civil and Spanish American Wars. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, hundreds of civilian prisoners were transferred to Alcatraz. By the 1920's the three-story prison was nearly at full capacity. Ownership shifted from the Army to the Department of Justice in 1934, and work began to outfit the prison with...