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About Gennifer Choldenko
What prepared me for a life of writing fiction? Though I have a BA from Brandeis University in English and American Literature and a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, the true answer is probably genes. I come from a long line of Irish storytellers on my father's side and theatre people on my mother's. I always knew I loved to write, but it took me a long time to summon the courage to chase the dream. I finally went for it when I realized I would prefer to be a failure at something I wanted to do, then a success at something I didn't.
While I was pretending I wasn't a writer, trying to be a nice person with a nice quiet job somewhere, I sold lingerie, lipstick and lamp shades. I wrote junk mail. I taught visually and hearing-impaired kids horseback riding. I held a prestigious job in rubbish removal and I worked in a factory wearing a paper gown while wielding a large mallet on small serving packages of ketchup.
One Third Nerd, my funniest novel yet, is due out in January 2019. My most famous novel, Al Capone Does My Shirts, garnered 20 awards, one of which was the Newbery Honor. The Tales of Alcatraz series has sold more than 2 million copies. What will probably be the last book in the series: Al Capone Throws Me a Curve is the best of the fifteen books I've written so far.
I am a fitness fanatic; a book-obsessed, tennis-playing woman who thinks like a twelve-year-old. If I ever get the good fortune to meet you, offer me coffee and I will be your friend for life.
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Today I moved to Alcatraz, a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. And then there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to.
A Newbery Honor Book
A New York Times Bestseller
A People magazine "Best kid's Book"
An ALA Book for Young Adults
An ALA Notable Book
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Krikus Reviews Editor's Choice
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Parents' Choice Silver Honor Book
A New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing" Selection
A New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age
*"Choldenko's pacing is exquisite. . . . [A] great read."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
*"Exceptionally atmospheric, fast-paced and memorable!"—Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"The story, told with humor and skill, will fascinate readers."—School Library Journal, starred review
"Al is the perfect novel for a young guy or moll who digs books by Gordon Korman, or Louis Sachar."—Time Out New York for Kids
"Funny situations and plot twists abound!"—People magazine
"Heartstopping in some places, heartrending in others, and most of all, it is heartwarming."—San Francisco Chronicle
It's 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.
You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose?s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.
As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can't risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?
The last heart-pounding installment in the New York Times bestselling, Newbery Honor-winning Alcatraz trilogy is not to be missed!
"Superlative historical fiction." -- School Library Journal (starred review for Al Capone Shines My Shoes)
Moose Flanagan lives on a famous island in California: Alcatraz, home to some of the most dangerous prisoners in the United States in the 1930s. It's the summer before he starts high school, and Moose is going to play a lot of baseball and win a spot on the high school team. But he still needs to watch his special older sister, Natalie--and then the warden asks Moose to look after his two-faced, danger-loving daughter, Piper.
In the cell house there are rumors that the cons will a strike, and that Moose's father might step up to a new job. Moose is worried: What will this mean for their family, especially for Natalie, who's had some scary run-ins with prisoners? Then the unthinkable happens: Natalie winds up someplace she should never, ever go. And Moose has to rescue her.
Don't miss the rest of the Tales from Alcatraz series!
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Al Capone Does My Homework
Four orphans have escaped from the Home for Friendless Children. One is Lucy, who used to talk and sing. No one knows why she doesn't speak anymore; silence is her protection.
The orphans find work and new friends at a traveling circus. Lucy loves caring for the elephants, but she must be able to speak to them, and to warn others of danger. If Lucy doesn't find her voice, she'll be left behind when the circus goes on the rails. Meanwhile, people are searching for Lucy, and her puzzling past is about to catch up with her.
This lively, heartwarming novel by the award-winning author of the Tales from Alcatraz series is full of marvels and surprises.
In a total departure, Gennifer Choldenko tells a story of adventure and survival, set in a fantastical place with rules all its own. Sharp dialogue, high stakes, and taut action make this a book that will stick with you long after you read the incredible ending..
San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people . . . but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.
The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.
Winner of a Los Angeles Public Library FOCAL (Friends of Children and Literature) Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award (Middle School division)
Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL) Readers Award
California Library Association’s Beatty Award, Eureka List
Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers.
His dad was not afraid of anything.
Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).
With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.
Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.
A family classic in the making from the dream team of Newbery Honor-winner Gennifer Choldenko and Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat.
★ "[Choldenko's] knowing, understated storytelling and Santat’s warm, expressive spreads give full credence to the fears that weigh on kids, as well as the presences—both real and imagined—that can help alleviate them."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggles to make friends; Izzy, a child with Down syndrome, makes friends easily and notices things that go past everyone else. Dad lives across town, but he's over a lot. And then there's Cupcake, their lovable German shepherd, who guards their basement apartment.
Recently, Cupcake has a problem--she's peeing in the house. The kids need to make enough money to take her to the vet before their landlord upstairs finds out. And Mom and Dad have said if Cupcake doesn't stop, they will find her a new home. But the kids will never let Cupcake go. Can they save her?
Kirsten's parents are barely speaking to each other, and her best friend has fallen under the spell of the school's queen bee, Brianna. It seems like only Kirsten's younger science-geek sister is on her side. Walker's goal is to survive at the new white private school his mom has sent him to because she thinks he's going to screw up like his cousin. But he's a good kid. So is his friend Matteo, though no one knows why he’ll do absolutely anything that hot blond Brianna asks of him. But all of this feels almost trivial when Kirsten and Walker discover a secret that shakes them both to the core.
River and Niko find their dad is missing, and they have no choice but to track him down. But when they discover the clues lead to a shady reptile dealer, they start to think they might have gotten in over their heads. A short story from Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka.