Al Capone Does My Shirts



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Al Capone Does My Shirts

Book Study

Name: _________________________________________

Comprehension and Discussion Questions



Write your answers in complete sentences!

  1. How does Moose sleep after his first night on Alcatraz Island?



  1. After Natalie has spent just one night at the Esther P. Marinoff School, Mr. Purdy calls the Flanagans to let them know that Natalie isn’t ready for school. What reason does he give for sending her back home?



  1. Who is “105” and why does this person cause Moose so much anxiety?



  1. Describe Moose’s first contact with Piper Williams, the warden’s daughter. What is Piper like and how does Moose react to her?



  1. What is it about Natalie’s behavior that makes it hard for her family to live with her?



  1. Why do you think it is so important to Mrs. Flanagan to keep celebrating Natalie’s 10th birthday? And how does Moose get her to change her mind about this?



  1. Imagine that, like Moose, you had a sibling that lived with a significant disability or condition like autism. How would your life be different? Do you think you would relate to your sibling like Moose relates to Natalie?



  1. Moose finds himself attracted to Piper and very suspicious of her. If you could give Moose some advice about how to handle Piper, what would you say? How do you think Moose ought to respond to her?



  1. As Moose obediently helps his sister off the boat when they arrive at school, he thinks to himself, “Good Moose, obedient Moose. I always do what I am supposed to do.” (Page 28) Is this true?



  1. Mrs. Flanagan tells Moose, “Your better with Natalie than I am.” (Page 180) What does Moose do for Natalie that her mother does not? How does Moose treat Natalie? And how do Moose’s friends on Alcatraz play a role in helping Natalie?



  1. From the beginning to the end of the novel, which characters seem to show signs of changing? How do they change? Do you think these changes will last?



  1. How did Natalie really get accepted into school? What made Mr. Purdy suddenly to decide to open another school? Did Moose’s letter to Al Capone make a difference? Describe two or three possible scenarios to describe what might have happened.



  1. Imagine the Flanagan family after Natalie has left to attend Mr. Purdy’s new school. How will Moose’s life change when Natalie is away at school? Will his relationship with his parents be different when Natalie is out of the house?



  1. Is Mrs. Flanagan a good mother to Moose? Is she a good mother to Natalie? Why does she treat her children so differently? Is she right in being this way?



  1. Based on the title of the book, what did you think this book would be about before you read it? How was the story different from what you expected?



  1. Using a netbook, define what autism is. List three to five characteristics of autism. Has treatment of autism changed since the 1930’s?



  1. If Moose believes that Al Capone is responsible for Natalie’s admission into the school, how would he thank him? Pretend that you are Moose and write Al Capone a thank you letter. (10 points) Use complete sentences, proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. You should also write one compound sentence, one complex sentence and one compound, complex sentence.

Vocabulary Words Chapter 1-10

Word:

Page Number

Definition

Original Sentence

embezzlers










connivers











smithereens










phonograph










affliction










manicotti










morgue










Warden










gangplank










Asylum










Grim










Grisly










Ledger










Chump










scoffing










acquaintance










barbershop










contraption










deliberately










Permed
















Chapters 11-20




Hunched










Shrill










Banshee










Brocade










Appeal











persuade










Notorious











cultivated










mercilessly










corduroys










commando










miraculously










fiddling










faraway










recreation










Home economics










cotillion










streetcars










simmer











eucalyptus










buoy










clangs










switchback










deliberate










preposterous










indignity










shenanigans










appalled










unseemly










culpability










moral










severance










formal










procuring










concealing










snitch
















Chapters 21-30




desperate










sturdy










flare










possessive










crocheted










scrambles










coos










humiliation










imitation










concentration










lousy










shale










chink










chump










terraces










diligent










discouraged










pomade










balks










frilly










ventriloquist










deficiencies










extraordinary










behaviorist










recommendation










pronoun










sulking










wheedles










jeopardize










burrowing










churning










spools










flailing










forlorn
















Chapter 31-40




tantrums










banister










upended










incline










clattering










wreck










earnest










sincere










parroting










collide










pockmarked










obnoxious










winces










understatement










meringue










psychiatrists










preferential










hardship










Quotes:

In complete sentences, explain why the following quotes are important to the development of the character or plot.


“Don’t answer it,” I yell to Natalie as I wade through the boxes to the front door. Page 10

“Sure. I’ve been to hundreds of morgues. Thousands of them, in fact. Dead criminals…don’t I get to meet any live ones?” I ask. Page 13

“Put her in an asylum, Helen. It’s the humane thing to do,” Mrs. McCraw said between bites of cinnamon nut cake. Page 29

“Things fell apart at my house after that. Ants in the sink. Flies in the garbage. Cereal for supper. No clean dishes. Natalie in the same dirty dress. The blood of picked scabs on her arm.” Page 65


“Do you think it’s kind of mean, taking her buttons away?” Page 91

The warden ignores me. He waits. “That’s right. Money motivated most of ‘em. Is that how you want to end up?” Page 115

I stop and stare at him. “How come you’re so friendly with her all of a sudden?” Page 136

“But never you—not Mommy—you, a pronoun.” Page 157

“Natalie,” I whisper. “This is your chance.” I smooth out her tangled hair. “You have to get into the Esther P. Marinoff this time, okay? Mom can’t handle it if you don’t.” Page 175


Piper nods. “That’s what we figured,” she says. Page 191




“I am”—he wipes at his eyes with his shoulder so he doesn’t have to let go of us—“so very proud of my children. So very proud.” A sob escapes his chest. “What wonderful people you’ve grown to be.” Page 194


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