Books Author Alcatraz Al Capone Autism Teachers Home
ages 10 and up
Wendy Lamb Books, May 8, 2018
978-1101938133 (hc)
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5 most common questions


Moose Flanagan lives on a famous island in California: Alcatraz, home to some of the most dangerous prisoners in the United States in the 1930s. It's the summer before he starts high school, and Moose is going to play a lot of baseball and win a spot on the high school team. But he still needs to watch his older sister, Natalie—and then the warden asks Moose to look after his two-faced, danger-loving daughter, Piper. 

In the cell house there are rumors that the cons will strike, and that Moose's father might step up to a new job. Moose is worried: What will this mean for their family, especially for Natalie, who's had some scary run-ins with prisoners? Then the unthinkable happens: Natalie winds up someplace she should never, ever go. And Moose has to rescue her.


Booklist, starred review
Booklist 50 Best Middle-Grade Novels of the 21st Century (Tales from Alcatraz)
Junior Library Guild
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Scholastic Book Fair and Book Club hardcover selection


“This worthy 'second ending' finishes on a hopeful note that series fans will embrace.” (Booklist, starred review)

“It's earnest Moose, always striving to do the right thing, who elevates this tale, like a hard-hit baseball, into the stratosphere.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Moose Flanagan is one of the most likeable characters in children’s books.” And, “With a wonderful cast of characters and a brilliantly crafted ending, this entry in the series can be read with great pleasure on its own.” (Providence Journal)

Audio Book: “Narrator Kirby Heyborne's intuitive vocal choices channel an unforgettable summer in 1936. He exposes the story's layers of conflict using changes in cadence and tone that reflect the historical details and events. Moose cares for his sister, and the responsibility of her care weighs heavily. Heyborne gives their relationship verve and treats it with reverence.” (Audiofile)

“A powerful story of love and family that will please fans and newcomers.” (School Library Journal)

“Truth finally sets Moose free in this lovingly layered novel—part action movie and part comedy with a full measure of heart and hope.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Natalie, in particular, comes into her own in this book… Choldenko continues to effectively develop the vivid historical setting (explained in greater depth in the back matter) as well as the tightly woven community of guards, family members, and prisoners.” (The Horn Book)

“Moose is the James Stewart of Children’s literature.  His earnest first-person narrative brims with heart and humor.” (A Book and a Hug, blogger)

“It’s fantastic  … Al Capone Throws Me a Curve has it all—wonderful characters, an exciting setting, and lots of action.” (Booking Mama, blogger)

“This was a hit out of the park.” (Night Owl Book Cafe, blogger)

“The kind of book that pulled me forward to finish reading in a day.” (Middle Grade Minded, blogger)

“This story will ring true with anyone who has an autistic sibling …  if you’ve not read the others, get them all … a great period piece.” (Book Witch, blogger)

“I am so-o excited by this surprise new entry in the Tales from Alcatraz series!” (Prose and Kahn, blogger)