What is a summary of Al Capone Does My Shirts?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Al Capone Does My Shirts is a young reader's novel by Gennifer Choldenko that takes us back to the days when the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was still open and still holding the most famous prisoner of all, Al Capone.

Young protagonist Moose Flanagan moves to Alcatraz Island with his family when his father is hired as an electrician and prison guard for the infamous prison. Soon, Moose finds himself ensnared by Piper, daughter of the prison warden, in a money-making scheme advertising Al Capone's name. The plan is to have classmates pay them to wash the classmate's laundry at the prison under the pretense that Al Capone has laundry duty and will be doing the washing. However, Piper is soon caught by her father in the scheme, getting Moose as well as other fellow classmates in trouble.

Meanwhile, Moose also has an autistic sister named Natalie, and their parents fail to get her accepted in the Esther P. Marinoff School for special-needs children in San Francisco, leaving the whole family to feel concerned about her education and Moose needing to take care of her during the day.

Soon, Moose decides to try and take advantage of his Al Capone connection to try and help his sister. He writes a note to Al Capone begging for his assistance and slips it into the laundry at the prison. Not many weeks later, the Flanagan family is informed that the Esther P. Marinoff School has just instituted a brand new program geared towards older autistic students, and Natalie has been accepted as the program's very first student.

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