Al Capone Does My Shirts

First thing that came to mind when I read this book–one of the most original ideas I’ve come by. The author, Gennifer Choldenko, did a nice job on this one. Because really, how many books have you read about the adventures of a kid living on Alcatraz? Yes, the Alcatraz. You know, the place where the worst of the worst of the worst go to have fun. In this book you are introduced to Moose, a boy who’s not exactly thrilled to learn that his dad, so desperate for a job during the Depression, is going to become a prison guard. Alcatraz is a far cry from where Moose lived before, but his sister needs to go to a special school nearby, and this is the only way it’s going to happen. So Moose succumbs to his fate. Yet there is more to Alcatraz than meets the eye. Moose didn’t know that he and the prisoners both like to play baseball, and that they even do his laundry. Convict-laundered shirts. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? And the girl Moose meets there, Piper, seems to have a special need to get in as much trouble as possible. It’s one he doesn’t share. Not only is this book unique and nearly unbearable to put down, it actually has quite a few interesting facts in it. Hey, even my mom liked it! So why don’t you give it a try? Then check out the sequel.


Author Tidbits: Michael Buckley

Well, let’s see…I’ve done posts on The Sisters Grimm and NERDS, so I might as well do one on the author of both: Michael Buckley. Before he became a writer for children, Michael Buckley was stand-up comedian. He was also the lead singer of a punk rock band, and he worked as an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman. He also worked on developing programming for various TV networks. Quite an array of jobs, I might add. Finally, he discovered the joys of writing, especially with a healthy dose of funny. The Sisters Grimm is his first work, and he is now a bestselling author. For those that aren’t particularly drawn to The Sisters, he has a funnier series called NERDS. This more resembles science fiction, chock full of originality. Now that you know more about the author of these great books, why don’t you take a look?

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Just in advance, this book (by Gary D. Schmidt) might make you cry. Seriously. It might, but that isn’t a reason to not read it. Some books are sad and you don’t like them at all, but this book is sad and extremely good. Anyway, enough of my prattle, here’s what it’s about…

Turner Buckminster isn’t in the best of moods these days. He’s left his comfortable Boston home behind, and is now in Phippsburg, Maine, where his father will be the new minister. But Turner doesn’t want to be known as the minister’s son, and he just can’t find a way to be happy in the nearly six hours he’s been there. Even baseball is different, and that just takes the cake. It sucks, and Turner is positive things will never get any better. How can they? But the Buckminster Boy is in for a surprise, which comes in the form of Lizzie Bright Griffin. She’s sassy and feisty, and lives on the nearby Malaga Island with her grandfather. The world isn’t so horrible anymore–Lizzie has opened it up for Turner. But the discovery of the town’s elders’ desire to turn Malaga into a tourist trade center brings everything down to Earth. And the battle to stop it brings a series of calamities Turner isn’t sure he can face. This is the sort of touching book great for both boys and girls, maybe even adults as well. It has good plot and real, great characters. I strongly suggest you take a look. And if you like it, check out another book by the same author, The Wednesday Wars.

Poetry Speaks Who I Am

Does anyone remember the post I did ages ago called Poetry Speaks To Children? Well, this is almost exactly like that. The only difference is that these poems are more for kids, maybe…let’s say 11 and up? These poems are about growing up, whether it’s your first kiss or discovering something you never thought about before. From In The Desert to Litany, these poems will serve the purpose of cheering you up, convincing you that you aren’t alone, or just plain making you feel good as you read them for fun. Some rhyme, some don’t, some are serious, some are more free-wheeling and just there. But I loved every moment of this book, and feel confident that many others would, too. So try it. Go out to the bookstore or library. Read one poem, that was all it took for me. Enjoy it.