Al Capone Does My Shirts (April book club)

“Nobody knows how things will turn out, that’s why they go ahead and play the game…You give it your all and sometimes amazing things happen, but it’s hardly ever what you expect.” (Moose Flanagan)


In April, we read Gennifer Choldenko’s Al Capone Does My Shirts. This historical fiction novel takes place on Alcatraz Island in 1930s. The protagonist, Moose Flanagan, is not happy about his family moving to the Island because of his dad’s new job. He’s even less happy with having to take care of his older sister, Natalie, who has autism.

Having our book club at a police station seemed like the perfect place for us to meet.


Sargeant Tom Ball of the Zeeland Police Department was kind enough to meet with us,


give us a tour of the police station,

and answer any and all of our questions…


…including questions about these handcuffs and questioning room across from them!

It was fun to find, displayed on the walls, a photo and newspaper from the time period of our book.

Afterward, we talked about our favorite parts of the book and ate lemon cake (Natalie’s favorite).

Had we more time, we would have played baseball and gone on a missing button scavenger hunt in a park nearby.

Grateful for a book that taught us about history, made us laugh (and cry) and shed light on issues of responsibility, family, guilt, and love.

“Now I understand. When you love someone, you have to try things even if they don’t make sense to anyone else.” (Moose Flanagan)


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