Study Guide

Al Capone Does My Shirts Exploration

By Gennifer Choldenko


You can't have a story take place on a world-famous prison island without a dose of the unknown. It's dangerous and feels exciting just knowing there are so many bad guys just a stone's throw away. Fortunately for our characters, though, a hint of danger is all they ever really see in Al Capone Does My Shirts. Phew—they're just kids, after all.

The spirit of exploration is high among the youth of Alcatraz Island. This leads to different things, but more often than not, there are no actual adventures to be had. But their desire to see something new and exciting is so extreme that they manage to create their own fun. Which is just as worthwhile, don't you think?

Questions About Exploration

  1. Do you think the kids are ever disappointed by not having real adventures? How can you tell? Bust out some evidence from the text to support your answer.
  2. What does Moose explore about himself over the course of the book?
  3. What types of things would you hope to explore if you were living on Alcatraz Island?

Chew on This

The atmosphere of exploration that hovers throughout the book is all thanks to Piper.

The characters' imaginations are explored more than their actual surroundings, since Moose, Piper, and the rest of the gang create adventures out of their day-to-day experiences on the island.

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