Tales From Alcatraz series by Gennifer Choldenko

English | ePUB | 2.98 MB | Books: 3

The Author

An author of children’s and young adult literature, the American novelist Gennifer Choldenko has been a writer for many years now, with an extensive backlog of work that she’s amassed throughout her long and illustrious career. Known for her wit and warm sense of humor, she has an ability to offer insight into the minds of her characters, bringing her narratives to life and providing them with a sense of meaning. Knowing her audience well, she has a gift for her clear understanding and handling of the subject matter, allowing her young readers to relate at a deeper more profound level.

Early and Personal Life

Born on the 20th of October in 1957, the future writer Gennifer Choldenko was born and raised in Santa Monica, California in the United States. The youngest of four children, she grew up as the youngest of all her cousins as well, marking her out from an early age. Taking in inspiration from the world around her, she would take ideas from the world around her and put them back into her later work.

Educated at the Brandeis University, which she graduated from, she also went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was here that she’d gain an academic foundation for her material, giving her work a stronger more defined basis to build up from. Creating her style and her tone, she refined and honed it throughout her education, building upon it for her writing career to follow.

After graduating with a degree in English from Brandeis, she went on to work in writing advertising for a living. Spending seven years writing copy, she soon decided to go to Rhode Island Art School, where she learned more about illustration and design. With her second degree she then went on and wrote her first novel, as she started to make a name for herself within the literary industry.

Currently living in San Francisco in California, she resides in America to this very day where she continues to write. With a lot more books to come, she always has something new on the horizon, as her writing career grows from strength-to-strength. Not stopping her illustrations either, there’s a lot more to come from this particular author, in both her writing and her designs.

Writing Career

Releasing her first book back in 1997 through Hyperion Books, she made her initial début with the children’s novel ‘Moonstruck: The True Story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon’. Illustrated by Paul Yalowitz, it managed to set the tone for much of her work to follow, through a bold and simple style. Working as a parody of sorts, it operates as a tongue-in-cheek version of the Mother Goose stories, which many slightly older children will appreciate.

Largely famous for her Al Capone series of novels, she charts the time of the young boy Moose Flanagan, as he grows up in Alcatraz. Set in the 1930’s it works as a period piece, following the boy during his time growing up there with his family working at the infamous prison. Taking points from history, it’s accurate and well observed, whilst also providing engaging characters and situations.

Not without her fair share awards as well, she has gained a large amount of critical acclaim over the years too. With her novel ‘Al Capone Does My Shirts’ she was a finalist for the American Newbery Medal, as well as the British Carnegie Medal. Managing to gain critical as well as commercial success, she’s gotten herself a huge amount of acclaim on a worldwide scale.

With a global audience she has not only garnered the respect of both her peers and contemporaries, but she’s also gained commercial success as well. Gaining a young audience as well, she has a gift for writing and producing work that resonates with her particular demographic. This is something that she’s become revered for, as she writes in a clear and accessible style that’s also simultaneously not condescending.

She has future novels planned, such as further titles which she’s currently writing in the Al Capone series. There are also plans to continue with her illustrations as well, with plenty more novels planned in her other franchises too. With a lot more to come, it appears that she is not stopping any time soon, as she continues on into the foreseeable future.

The Books

Juvenile Fiction, Action & Adventure, General, Love & Romance, Young Adult

The first in the series of ‘Al Capone at Alcatraz’ novels, this sets up the premise of this period piece, creating the style and tone of the novels to follow. Initially published in 2004 and reprinted again in 2006, this was first brought out through the Puffin Books publishing label. Introducing the main protagonist, it works by setting up the world that he lives within, along with his sister, creating the ambiance and overall atmosphere.

Moving to the infamous prison of Alcatraz in the early 1930s, the twelve year old Moose Flanagan has to make the most of things. With him and his sister surrounded by the most dangerous elements of society, there’s also a group of other children living there too. It appears that he has his work cut out for him when dealing with all the most nefarious criminals that were too dangerous to send anywhere else. Will he be able to cope with it all? Can he make the most of it? What will happen when Al Capone does my shirts?

The books in suggested reading order:

Al Capone Does My Shirts
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Al Capone Does My Homework