In the book Al Capone Does My Shirts a twelve year old boy named Moose and his sister move to Alcatraz Island. Other children also live on the island because their parents, like Moose's father, work on the island. Moose's father is an electrician. Moose does not want to live on the island but they have to so that his sister can attend a special school.
The island harbors serious criminals who have committed the worst kinds of crimes. No other prisons want them. One of the things that Moose does not understand is why his dad has to work as a guard if he is an electrician at the place. He describes the guard towers and the dullness of their apartment.
Moose is excited because he wants to spend time with his dad but he learns that his dad has to work two jobs at the prison. He also finds out that he can not go to the job with him because kids are not allowed in the prison.
In order to go grocery shopping Moose's mother has to take a boat off the island. She leaves him to baby-sit his sister while she goes to get a block of ice. They don't have an electric fridge and have an ice box.
Moose thinks back on Natalie's behavior the day before on the train. She had thrown a fit and was kicking and screaming. His mother had to hold her to get her to calm down. She had to sit in the middle of the isle which was embarrassing. He goes on to explain that Natalie's tantrums can last for days and at times won't stop. She is unpredictable.
When he is watching his sister a girl with black hair goes to visit. He doesn't want to open the door but Natalie does. The girl is seven and a half. She tells Moose that she already knows about Natalie. Moose tells her that Natalie is ten and she is always ten at every birthday. Teresa, the girl, tells Natalie to get her coat and then tells Moose to follow her while she shows him around.