The theme of Al Capone Does My Shirts is that each of us is affected by everyone else and affects everyone else.
The story is about a boy named Moose who lives on Alcatraz because his father works for the prison. His sister Natalie is autistic, and Moose has to take care of her. As a result, he can’t live a normal life. His life is wrapped up in her, as is that of the rest of the family.
In a strange turn of events, Moose realizes that his sister Natalie has been hanging out with one of the convicts. He is terrified, because he does not want a grown man holding hand with his sister.
“You got a con to give you a ball, didn’t you? How did you do that? And who the heck is AZ 105? Somebody on the dock? I HAVE TO KNOW?” (Ch 27, p. 152)
Moose is beginning to realize that everything’s connected. He can’t tell his parents what is really going on with his sister, so he tries to keep her away from the convict but it is no use. When he tells Piper, the warden’s bratty daughter, she suggest he get the convicts autograph because it’s worth a lot of money.
Natalie is too old to go to the special school for autistic kids that her parents want her to go to. Moose feels his family slipping away, and decides to reach out to convict 105. He gets Al Capone to write a letter to the school, and they decide to open another program for older girls.
Everything is connected, and everyone is related. Natalie has managed to steal Capone's heart, in an innocent way. She may be autistic, but she is still able to make connections. An autistic 16 year old and a famous criminal are not the most likely of friends, but each affects the other. Moose also sees the truth, and is able to reach out to a man he fears in order to save his sister and his family.