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And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Al Capone

September is new book time. For kids in school and for book reviewers like me. I love opening the mail and seeing my special review copies, knowing I get to have an opinion and write about it before it even hits the bookstores. Much more fun than writing about books and authors and all those other assignments from my own school days.

Whenever possible, I review books I love. And if I had my way, most would be kids' books, especially middle grade and YA fiction. And this fall there are so many to love!

My review of AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES appeared this weekend in the Christian Science Monitor. What a great book! The kind of story you can recommend totally without reservation to a whole host of kids. Not one reason not to love this book. Sometimes I have to frame my personal recommendations, when asked, with a clarification. There are no "yes, buts" when you describe this one. Not this one and not the other "Al Capone" story-- Al Capone Does My Shirts.

These two novels by Gennifer Choldenko are totally not about Al Capone. They just happen to take place on Alcatraz Island, the prison where Capone and his cronies were sent in the 1030s. And he is in the story. But so is baseball, autism, friendships, moral dilemma, and lots of food references. Which of course, I love. Pass the the cannolis, please!

But the story belongs to Moose Flanagan, his friends and family. Just a great voice, a funny story, perfectly told and perfect for middle grade readers, older kids, and even parents and teachers.

Go ahead. Put it on your wish list. Reserve it at the library. Buy it for your favorite niece or nephew. Best aunt/uncle/ grandma/grandpa award, coming right up!

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