Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1 Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Boy stands up for sister with autism in compassionate tale.

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 10+

Based on 52 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Wonderful for teaching social citizenship!

We found this book interesting because it brings to light the challenges that are met in a family who is living with a loved who has autism. It also shows that despite the complications and drama in family life, that love conquers all and that you would do anything to help your family. Definitely a good discussion point to bring at a table and talk about people with special needs. Might want to wait to introduce this to older children as it has some sexual overtones. We are not quite sure what happened to Natalie when she was alone with the convict.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 9+

Great Insight into Living with a Sibling with a Disability

This book is written in the voice of a 7th grade boy in the 1930's who happens to live on Alcatraz Island because his father works there. In addition, he has an older sister with autism. His mother is obsessed with getting help for her daughter and asks her son to shoulder some of the responsibility for her care. It is a realistic look at how a child copes with living with a sibling with special needs. Leads to great conversations for children living in that circumstance.

This title has:

Great messages

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age and family stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all
  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a map and jug
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate